MEET OUR TEAM
Greg is Chairman of the Grazable Shrubs Project and has an interest in Tagasaste as one of several browse species on his property - particularly their ability to cycle nutrients.
Greg farms Mangarara Station near Elsthorpe with his wife Rachel and children George, Bill and Emma. Greg and Rachel operate a productive farming system which also has a long term focus, aiming to regenerate the land. The system includes improving soil health and carbon sequestration as well as planting native and food producing trees. Greg planted a block of Tagasaste seven years ago and has grazed the area occasionally.
Peter works with the Hawkes Bay Regional Council as a Catchment Management Advisor, and is based in Wairoa. He has worked with conservation trees for the last 30 years and has had a particular interest in fodder species.
After meeting with Katherine Tozer a couple of years ago, they discussed the potential benefits of Tagasaste for farming and the environment. While its nutritive value is well known, there are no practical management guidelines to manage this tree on hill country farms. So they decided to apply for funding from MPI's Sustainable Farming Fund. Peter hopes that this project will help hill country farmers - through utilising Tagasaste as both a soil conservation species and also adding value to pastoral farming.
Katherine is a scientist from the Farm Systems Team at AgResearch, Ruakura, Hamilton. She enjoys working with farmers, regional councils and rural professionals to develop more resilient beef and sheep hill country farming systems, with her focus being on pastures. This has involved research on pasture species, pasture management, weed management and more recently, the inclusion of woody forages in hill country pastures.
“There is a lot of potential for tree lucerne in summer dry hill country – to stabilise the soil, provide stock fodder and shelter, and provide a food source for native birds, bees and other pollinators. In this project we are determining for North Island East Coast conditions which pasture species perform well when grown in combination with tree lucerne on steep hillslopes, how much forage for livestock tree lucerne produces when directly grazed, and how best to establish tree lucerne from seed and from transplanted seedlings.”
Grant has extensive experience in developing and managing herbaceous shrub and tree species for erosion control - as well as other purposes - in a range of agricultural and non-agricultural landscapes. He has a particular interest in agronomy and pasture-tree interactions, particularly in hill country.
Grant is a former research scientist at DSIR, MWD, Agresearch and is now a part time consulting scientist. Grant has produced an elite selection of Tagasaste for providing supplementary fodder, and has experience establishing and managing the species in environments such as coastal sand dunes. He is passionate about the multiple uses of Tagasaste and its possibilities for hill country farming.
Nick has been farming in the Whakaki catchment since 2004. The 500Ha property is 80% steep hill country, which is dedicated to sheep and cattle breeding. The remainder of the property is flat land suitable for cropping - although it can often be very wet. Nick has been planting trees for soil conservation throughout his tenure, and has had an interest in improving planting methods as well as trying other suitable species. Through farming in the catchment (which drains into significant wetland), Nick and his neighbours are very conscious of the effects erosion can have, and are actively searching for solutions.
Hit hard by years of drought, eastern Marlborough farmers Doug and Wendy Avery realised in 1998 that they needed to change direction - not only in their lives but also in their farming methods for Bonavaree Farm. The drought ravaged property had many bare faces from 8 years of challenging weather - to which various processes were applied and experimented. Varieties of Salt Bush were trialed, as well as Tagasaste - which today has been the plant to flourish; self re-creating, building soil and offering grazing.
The Avery's have won a series of prestigious awards over the last 10 years for their work with soil conservation, and have turned their once struggling farm into multi-million dollar success.
Doug is passionate about helping other farmers and being a member of this project - the knowledge sharing that will come from it will be ultimately invaluable to fellow hill country farmers.
Dave has farmed Waiau Station near Wairoa with his wife Judy Bogaard since 1990. The 1200ha effective area farm comprises a high percentage of steep hill country, which has demanded innovative approaches.
Dave has been a leader in the development of tree systems for livestock feed and soil conservation on a large scale, and developed Worksafe approved protocols for willow pollarding. Alongside this, he has bred his own bare breech sheep and focused on minimising on-farm chemical use. In recent years, Dave has greatly improved his hill country production with improved management of sub clover. Dave and Judy recently won four awards in the 2019 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Luke has been farming sheep and beef in the Gisborne region for ten years. He has experience in both higher rainfall breeding country and in summer dry hill country intensive finishing. Luke believes that trees - incorporated in a farming system - can offer a wide range of benefits, such as bio diversity, sediment control, shade, fodder and now the possibility of carbon credits. In the past, his main objective for planting has been primarily for erosion control and shade. However, as his planting continues to progress - the additional benefits of carbon credit and fodder are now also a part of Luke's main considerations.
He believes that Tagasaste in particular could be a potential candidate, and offer these benefits to his farming country. While he does already have a plantation of Tagasaste, he's keen to be a part of a program which will explore how to better understand and use this tree.
LEAD EXTENSION MANAGER
EASTERN NORTH ISLAND - BEEF + LAMB NZ
Mark has been a part of a family that has farmed on the East Coast for many years, and brings his valuable experience as a farmer to his role at B+LNZ. As part of the Eastern North Island team, B+LNZ are proudly 100% focused on helping locals get the most out of their farms. Along with others, Mark helps manage extension activities including local events, projects and programs tailored to the needs of farmers in the region. Whether it's field days, community meetings, farmer focus groups or simply providing you with the latest on-farm data – B+LNZ value the needs and wants of local farmers, and strive to help where they can.
Mark believes it is very important that sustainable productive systems for hill country are developed. If Tagasaste on pasture proves to be one of the options - then this project will make a huge contribution.
Farm Systems and Extension Advisor -- Ballance AgriNutrients
Ian has a hill country farming and research background. After moving into rural extension with Dairy NZ for a number of years, Ian now leads the Science Extension Team of Ballance. Their job is to translate science into on-ground solutions for farmers.
Ian has a strong interest in new ideas for farming:
"Currently, I am very interested in the inclusion of multipurpose trees into pastoral farms, virtual fencing and the use of helicopters to get the right crops in the right place."
Ian's innovative approach to tree-pasture systems has been a valuable contribution to this unique project.