Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Top Organic Farmer Named


Central Canterbury organic farmers scooped all three places in the final of the Lincoln University Foundation/Rabobank Farmer of the Year Competition held at Lincoln University today (12 Dec.).

Winners of the Farmer of the Year title and an overseas travel scholarship valued at $7500 were Tim Chamberlain and Rose Donaghy who farm 160 hectares of BIO-GRO certified land at Lakeside, Leeston.

Second, winning a prize of $3000, were Andrew and Mirie (correct) Brooker of Aylesbury, who farm 452 hectares with 180 ha certified organic; and third, with a prize of $2000, were Peter and Joy McLeod who farm 8 hectares of BIO-GRO certified land at West Melton.

This year’s competition, the 18th in the annual series, had Organic Farming as the category and the chairman of the Lincoln University Foundation, John Nimmo, said the aim was to identify leadership in this particular farming discipline.

“And we have really achieved that objective,” he said, “with five top calibre finalists and a very high standard of applicants across the board.”

Tim Chamberlain and Rose Donaghy farm mixed cropping land near Lake Ellesmere and the couple’s interest in organics started after an overseas trip through Europe and North America in the early 1980s. They began their own “steep learning curve” in 1985 after believing it would be “relatively straight forward” to go organic.

Tim says that marketing is a vital part of farming, particularly organic farming. When they started in organics they thought that cereals and animal-based products would be their only farm outputs. They now grow a range of crops including vegetables, herbs, cereals and livestock.

The couple say it has taken time to build up the contacts and markets for their diverse range of crops and they spend a lot of time talking with their customers and prospective customers to ensure that selling opportunities keep arising. They focus very much on the local market and direct selling to consumers.

The Andrew and Mirie Brooker produce peas, linseed, wheat, barley, carrots, onions, potatoes and organic lambs.

Andrew’s father started in organics in the early 1990s with one paddock of peas for Wattie’s. Today Andrew himself he farms 180 hectares organically.

“Our philosophy is to grow what people want and are prepared to pay a premium for, rather than what they will take at a price,” says Mirie.

“In organic farming you have to be well organised and plan well ahead as there are no shortcuts or quick fixes if anything goes wrong. Weeding costs are our biggest drawback and in the case of onions and the like it can be the difference between profit and loss.

Peter and Joy McLeod produce organic chickens, nashi pears and tart cherries on their West Melton property. Peter says that from the time the chickens arrive as day-old chicks they receive “five-star treatment”. They are fed the best certified organic food available - no additives, growth promotants or cocidistats. They are kept super healthy with special mixtures of garlic, cider and “some other stuff too secret to mention”.

They are currently the only BIO-GRO certified growers of meat chickens in the South Island and they send their product from Invercargill to Wellington.

“We’re getting enquiries weekly from further afield, including export approaches,” says Peter.

He says that one of the reasons very few people are doing organic BIO-GRO free range meat chickens in New Zealand is because it is difficult.

“We have had to draw on our vast knowledge of organic systems to achieve what we have,” he says.

The other finalists were Ian Blakemore of Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, and Ian and Jenny Sloan of Wyndham.

end

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Ian Collins, Journalist, Lincoln University, Canterbury,
Tel: (03) 3252811 ext 8549. Email: collinsi@lincoln.co.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 



Campaign For NZ Coastal Tankers : Says Fuel Security At Risk

Three unions representing New Zealand shipping crews are mounting a united campaign to protect New Zealand’s fuel security and save New Zealand coastal tankers... More>>



Tourism: Travel Bubble With Cook Islands Resumes

Cook Islands tourism restarts today, ending a five-month border closure due to COVID-19. Graeme West, General Manager Australasia for Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, said today’s first flight of quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to the Cook Islands is very significant... More>>

Plant & Food: Research And Lincoln University Part Of Game Changing Gene Discovery
Scientists from Plant & Food Research and Lincoln University have contributed knowledge integral to the discovery of a new gene described as a game changer for global agriculture.
The gene allows natural reproduction by cloning in plants... More>>



Statistics: Building Consents Hit New Highs In November
There were a record 48,522 new homes consented in the year ended November 2021, Stats NZ said today. This was up 26 percent compared with the year ended November 2020... More>>

Fonterra: Revises Milk Collection Forecast
Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today revised the forecast for its 2021/22 New Zealand milk collections to 1,500 million kilograms of milk solids (kgMS), down from its opening forecast of 1,525 million kgMS... More>>



ComCom: Clearance Sought For Vocus / 2degrees Merger

The Commerce Commission has received an application for clearance in relation to a transaction that would see the merger of the Vocus Group with 2degrees. Vocus and 2degrees are both telecommunications providers that primarily supply retail fixed voice and broadband services... More>>