Project North Canterbury - Making a difference, together

Posted by Dianne Bisdee on 18 August 2015

Ten North Canterbury farmers affected by drought will have help turning their bare brown paddocks green again this spring under a new initiative announced today.

 Led by South Canterbury based Duncan Ag, Project North Canterbury will provide each farmer with free advice, soil testing, fertiliser, seed, spraying and drilling to renovate 5 ha with new pasture or crop for each farmer so they can start growing grass again as soon as possible.

 The unique offer is the result of five New Zealand owned rural companies joining forces to give both short term and long term support for those affected by unprecedented drought conditions in North Canterbury over the past several months.

 The North Canterbury Drought Relief Committee selected the farmers through a ‘nominate your neighbour’ process, says Craig McIsaac from no-till machinery specialist Duncan Ag.

 “Soil Matters is providing the soil testing and recommendations; Viafos will contribute the fertiliser; Specialty Seeds the seeds, DJ & AM Harrison Spraying with NuFarm any spraying needs and we will pay for the contractor and provide a Duncan seed drill so there is no wear and tear on the contractor’s machine,” he explains.

 All the companies involved wanted to do something practical for the North Canterbury farming community, and banding together to restore dead paddocks was seen as a way to help make a real difference.

 “We all share a similar focus on the importance of looking after farm soils and pastures as well as supporting long-term farm productivity.

 “We want the results of Project North Canterbury to continue benefiting these farms in future seasons, not just this spring. Having said that, we also recognise the urgent and immediate need for feed, so we’ll be tackling the situation as soon as conditions permit.”

 Two key benefits of no-till paddock renewal in this context are preserving soil moisture and rapid plant establishment, and both the fertiliser and seed recommendations will also be aimed at future-proofing the paddocks in question.

 The project got underway on the 11 August and wll continue through until mid September starting with soil testing and fertiliser advice.

Links: Farmers weekly, Radio NZ

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