Project North Canterbury

October 2016

A group of businesses who have combined forces to help farmers regrass after drought

Project North Canterbury has been put together by NZ companies helping NZ farmers who are suffering badly through drought around the Cheviot district. Five companies together with the community relief committee, will deliver complimentary soil testing and cultivar recommendations, seed, fertiliser and contracting services with specialised machinery to direct drill pasture seed into damaged pastures. The selection of 10 farms to receive between 4ha and 5ha each of new pasture has been made by the North Canterbury Drought Relief Committee on recommendations from local farmers.

The objective is to assist farmers who have been hit by drought, provide pasture and growth as soon as possible by using no tillage and direct drilling, and future proof farms with improved soil quality and drought-resistant seed selection.

  • Lead sponsor is Duncan Ag of Washdyke, Timaru, a 70-year-old family company providing an AS3000 direct drill, demonstration model, and the re-imbursement of contracting costs – fuel and labour.
  • Contractor is Murray Stackhouse, a Cheviot businessman and farmer.
  • Fertiliser will be donated by Viafos, a Christchurch-based national wholesaler of non-synthetic fertilisers.
  • Soil testing will be donated by Soil Matters of North Canterbury – fertiliser and soil consultancy business with a biological farming focus
  • Seed donated by Specialty Seeds of Christchurch.
  • Spray contracting and spray provided by DJ & AM Harrison Spraying Ltd

The first pasture re-sowing will be on the farm of Damian Harrison, who has been farming 350ha of his own, plus some leased land, for 14 years at Cheviot. He has sheep and beef and has been forced to destock by 1200 in-lamb ewes and some cattle because of the drought. There has been no significant rain since last November and while there is some greening on shaded faces and valley floors, the sunny faces are brown and dusty. Some of the area selected for re-sowing by the project was only sowed two years ago.

Damian also works as the local spraying contractor. After finding out about this project, he and his wife have decided to offer their spraying contracting services for free. Damian also contacted the chemical providers and has got them to supply chemicals for free as well.

The benefit of a no-till approach to sowing is that it heavily reduces the loss of moisture and enables a faster way to sow pasture, achieving quicker results.

The farms that have been selected for the trial through the ‘Nominate your neighbour’ draw are:

  • Tim Hyde, Waingaro Farm, Parnassus.
  • Ian Kidd, 47 Hurunui Mouth Road, Domett.
  • Neil Burgess, 201 Mina Road, Cheviot.
  • Richard Reed, Riversdale, Leader Road, Parnassus.
  • Hamish Pain, Roundhill, 140 Caverhill Road, Cheviot.
  • Damian Harrison, 353 Sinclair Road, Cheviot.
  • Scott Mcfadden, The Acheron, SH1, Greta Valley.
  • Woody Anderson, Lander Trading Ltd, Cheviot Hills, Cheviot.
  • Jim Davis, 1357 Blythe Road, Cheviot.
  • Rod Williams, Hidden Hills, Connemara Road, Parnassus.