David Houlbrooke



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AgResearch Ruakura


Dave Houlbrooke comes from an agriculture background having been brought up on family sheep and beef farms in the Wairarapa and the Waikato. He studied the discipline of soil science through the completion of a B.Sc (1994) and M.Sc Hons (1996) in Earth Sciences at the University of Waikato. Following a period of employment by Western Australian Dept. of Agriculture he undertook a soil science PhD (2005) at Massey University investigating the improved management for the land application of farm dairy effluent and the impact of intensive dairy farming on nutrient loss through artificial drainage systems.

Dave has been a soil scientist with AgResearch since 2004, based initially at the Invermay campus near Mosgiel followed by a relocation to Ruakura campus in Hamilton in 2011. Dave has held the position of Science Team Leader for the Environmental Research Team since 2011. His research interests have focused on, soil water management, farm dairy effluent management, soil and forage response to land use intensification, and nutrient efficient practices under grazed pastoral farming systems. He has worked closely with the New Zealand dairy industry and regulatory authorities to develop improved policy and management guidelines regarding the land treatment of farm dairy effluents. In recent time Dave also led the development of an AgResearch strategy for delivering R&D into hill country. Dave’s current interest is in the future of New Zealand land use and their transition to more diverse landscapes and production systems.

Dave has served on the New Zealand Society of Soil Science Council since 2008 holding the position of President for 2017/18 cycle and currently Immediate Past President. He is a joint theme leader (Innovative and resilient land and water use) in the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge.