Ashley Dene Farm is a research farm 15km east of Lincoln, owned by Lincoln University for over a hundred years. Last year (2016), a research and development station was created on the site and is used by Lincoln Hub partners for agricultural research. These include Landcare Research, AgResearch, DairyNZ, Lincoln University, and Plant & Food Research.
Graeme Rogers is a Research Technician working in the Ecosystems and Global Change group. He has been working on a range of soil monitoring tasks at Ashley Dene, and took me on a tour of the site. One of his current focuses is to determine nutrient leaching differences between dryland and irrigated lucerne pasture. this invloved large lysimeters being dug into the ground in two pastures, and a range of other environmental monitoring devices (humidity, air pressure, solar intensity etc.) utilised.
Clockwise, from top left: Some of the LU dairy herd watching us at work; one of the eddy flux sites which measures a range of environmental variables; John Hunt, a researcher, monitors the Carbon output from soil microbes in dryland mixed pasture; field assistants placing two small lysimeters containing fodder beet; the large lysimeter in the irrigated lucerne paddock; inside the lysimeter pit (the white circles are the lids of the tipping-bucket gauges which record water drainage); Gabriel Moinet, a French Postdoctoral Reseacher, in his mobile lab investigates CO2 emission from soil in the irrigated mixed pasture.