Brendan Malcolm – Plant and Food Research

Brendan Malcolm

I was brought up in Nelson on a mixed enterprise farm consisting of dairy cows, a stone fruit and pip fruit orchard, and boysenberries. From a young lad I have had a strong interest in farming and was putting cups on cows when physically able.
I went to Lincoln University in 2004 and studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours. My intention was to become a dairy consultant and eventually go farming, but my taste for research during my honours year, which was looking at the effect of DCD (‘Eco-N’) on pasture nitrate concentrations, saw me continue on in research, and resulted in a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Keith Cameron looking at the effects of pasture species composition on nitrate leaching losses. This led to a postdoctoral position at Lincoln University where I was part of the highly collaborative Pastoral 21 team, with a focus on dairy systems research for high productivity and reduced environmental impact.
In 2014 I was fortunate enough to secure a permanent scientist position at Plant & Food Research in Lincoln, which is where I am currently. My area of research is nitrate leaching losses under livestock production systems, which largely involves quantifying N leaching losses from grazed winter forage crops (e.g. fodder beet, kale) and using catch crops directly after grazing to mop up N and reduce leaching.
With an inherited interest in farming and a practical background, my number one aim as a researcher is to ensure that my research has a strong practical application.
Outside of work, I have a love for the outdoors and sport. In particular, I am a keen hunter-gatherer, both on the land and in the sea. I consider it a privilege to be on the NZSSS council and hope that I can promote the importance of soils to a wide range of people.