Category Archives: Uncategorized

Onions Update Field Walks: Franklin and Canterbury

Franklin event

When: Tuesday 16th January 2018, 13:00 to 15:00
Where: A.S. Wilcox SFF trial site, Highway 22, Pukekawa

(1km past GAS Pukekawa, gate on right)

Canterbury event

When: Wednesday 17th January 2018, 10:30 to noon
Where: Lovett Family Farms, Mossgrove Block,
1212 Chertsey Kyle Road, Pendarves

If wet we will meet in shed on the property.

The field events will demonstrate the following:

Managing variation in onion crops

Dan Bloomer (LandWISE) and Bruce Searle (Plant and Food Research) will demonstrate the mapping of onion crops, the use of smartphone apps to capture canopy information and the SmartFarm website for data processing. You will be able to assess the crop variation in the fields and discuss what might be driving the  variation seen. We will also discuss the fertiliser management trials being conducted at LandWISE.

Practically managing soil N using quick tests

Plant and Food Research have been evaluating a quick test for soil nitrates which they will demonstrate at these field sessions. Measured nitrate concentrations can be compared with critical threshold limits that have been established for a number of crops to assess the crop requirements for nitrogen fertiliser.

Electric Weeding Demonstrations (Franklin only)

Kazel Cass, Hotgrass Ltd, will demonstrate a ROOTWAVE PROTM electro-thermal weeder, used for amenity weeding. Electro-thermal technology uses electricity to turn the water in plant tissues to steam. Electricity flows through the stem and the roots, killing the whole plant. Foliage dies back and, along with the dead plant roots, turns into organic matter. It works systemically and is very efficient compared to alternative technologies such as flame or steam weeding.

Come along and see for yourself!

Note: The Franklin field walk will be followed by a HotGrass electric weeding demonstration, see more here>

Our Onion Research is in conjunction with Plant and Food Research. It is funded by Onions NZ and the Sustainable Farming Fund.

Thanks to A S Wilcox, Murray Wymer, Dean Pye, the Le Poutre and Lovett families for hosting trials. Thanks to Seed and Field, Pukekohe Grower Supplies and PGG Wrightson for helping with monitoring.

This season our MicroFarm work is being aided by Apatu Farms who are helping with field operations and harvest and we are very grateful for their support. The MicroFarm is supported by the Centre for Land and Water, BASF Crop Protection and Ballance AgriNutrients.

Onions NZ Research Seminar and AGM

2017 Research Seminar, AGM & Dinner

Onions New Zealand warmly invites all growers, exporters and the wider onion industry to come together before the main harvest commences to the Research Seminar, AGM and Dinner. The Research Seminar has a number of speakers addressing future  opportunities as well as addressing current concerns.

When: 1:30 pm, 18th October 2017
Where: Indian Association Hall, 59 Ward St, Pukekohe
(in the back room)
Cost: Free due to funding from ONZ & our sponsors contributions 

RSVP is Mandatory by Wednesday 11 October.
Email James Kuperus, send a letter, call or text James with the number of people attending from your organisation.

Programme details available here.

By now all Onions New Zealand members should have received a formal invitation to attend the 2017 Research Forum, AGM and Dinner. If your organisation has not please contact James Kuperus. 



Great DDT Muster

Don’t miss this chance to rid your property of DDT!

Sent to LandWISE subscribers on behalf of 3R

We’re urging farmers and other users of agrichemicals and pesticides to check their sheds and chemical stores for DDT or other banned pesticides as The Great DDT Muster does a final sweep of the country.

The Great DDT Muster is a nationwide campaign for the collection and disposal of Persistent Organic Pollutants, referred to as POPs.

We’ve been running the Muster for two years now and have collected around 10,000 kg of chemicals, but we believe there are still more POPs out there.

These include DDT, Lindane, Dieldrin, Chlordane, Aldrin and other pesticides which were in widespread use in rural New Zealand in the 1940s to 1970s. 

While POPs haven’t been sold or used in NZ for many years due to known harmful impacts on health and the environment, some properties still have POPs stored, either not knowing what they are, what to do with them, or being unwilling to pay for collection.

The Great DDT Muster is your best, and possibly last chance, to get rid of these pesticides for free.

Bookings close 31 October 2017




You can also call 0508 374 768 for more information. 

Even if you are unsure what your chemicals are, it’s safer to give us a call than to do nothing!

Please return booking forms to or 3R Group, PO Box 1216, Hastings 4156. Please note, online bookings are done through 3R Group’s ChemCollect service.

How does the Muster work?

Bookings and collections are managed by 3R Group Ltd, programme manager for the Muster.  Bookings made are strictly confidential and individual booking information will not be shared with third parties. 

We need to receive your booking before the end of October 2017. We will then be in touch to confirm details. Other chemical types can be booked at the same time but these may be subject to collection fees. Applicable fees will be quoted prior to any collection activity. Collections will be carried out during November and December 2017.

The Great DDT Muster has received financial support from the Waste Minimisation Fund, which is administered by the Ministry for the Environment.

So, what are POPs?

POPs are chemicals that persist in the environment and are known to cause adverse effects to health. They are bio-accumulative, building up in the tissue of living things, and can be passed between species through the food chain or from mother to baby. 

Among other effects, POPs have been identified as hormone disruptors which can alter normal function of endocrine and reproductive systems in humans and wildlife.  Cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes have been linked to POPs. Exposure to POPs during pregnancy has been linked to developmental defects in the resulting offspring.

It is illegal to use, store or discharge POPs into the environment, so this is a great chance for you to dispose of POPs safely and for free!

If you’d like to know more, visit for full details of the project.

Don’t miss out, book here today!

LandWISE Board Update

Revised Constitution Accepted

Following the AGM decision to revise our Constitution it has been submitted and accepted by Charities. You can download it here>

A major change was to the Board make up, and reducing the size of the Board to 5 elected members supported by the Manager.

Current Board Members:
  • John Evans – Tregynon Farm, Canterbury (CHAIR)
  • Mark Burgess – Commercialisation, University of Auckland
  • John van der Linden – Vineyards Systems Manager, Villa Maria
  • Simon Wilcox – Operations Manager Supply, A.S. Wilcox
  • Oliver Knowles – Precision Ag Specialist, Ballance AgriNutrients
  • Dan Bloomer


The new Board met at the LandWISE MicroFarm in May after the Conference, and again in September at A.S. Wilcox in Pukekohe. We greatly appreciate being hosted and the opportunity for Board Members to better understand the business and some of the issues it faces.

LandWISE Board at A S Wilcox, being shown around the packing and despatch areas by Simon

We have submitted project proposals on drainage for permanent crops and good nitrogen management for vegetables to the Sustainable Farming Fund and wait on the outcome. We have also responded to an Expression of Interest to review new high precision GPS/GNNS signals that we believe can radically change some important tasks on New Zealand farms.

Conference 2018 -Tech for Timely Actions

23, 24 May 2018, Havelock North

Planning for the 2018 Annual Conference is underway, so if you have ideas or requests, please contact us. We’d love your input.

Membership Subscriptions

At the AGM we agreed to leave subscriptions at the same level, where they have sat for a number of years. But the Board has determined that the free third member offer (originally introduced for one year) will now not be offered. Board members feel the fees are very low and encourage you to join more people depending on the size of your business.

Members’ subscription invoices will be sent out soon.


The Value of Smart Farming


One hundred and fifty farmers, technology developers, service providers and researchers joined us at our 14th Annual Conference in May 2016.

The presentation summaries are available on-line here>

Delegates left LandWISE 2016 with new understanding of how new digital technologies might help us, where current development is opening possibilities and which are offering on-farm value now and in the future.

Delegate feedback was extremely positive.

  • “We’ll be back next year with a carload of colleagues!”
  • “I’ve never been to a conference where the was so much interest and excitement! People went back in on time, sat on the edge of the chairs paying attention then talked nonstop all lunchtime”

Sign up for our free newsletter to receive updates about our activities and information about LandWISE 2017.

The Mechanical Farm of 2030

LandWISE 2015 Presenter, Dan Bloomer


Dan is the Manager of LandWISE Inc, an independent consultant, and a member of the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand Executive.

In 1981, John Matthews of the UK National Institute for Agricultural Engineering described what a farm would look like in 2030; a fifty year horizon.

“The mechanical farm of 2030” identified four factors that would influence the farm of 2030; social factors including employment, preservation of the environment, animal welfare and primary energy sources.


Soil quality and alternative machinery were high on their list. Computers and robotics were available but GPS, internet and wireless were not.

In 2015, with all the benefits of knowing what happened in the last 35 years, we revisited the question to ask, “What will a cropping farm look like in 2030?” Were John Matthew’s predictions of technology on-track? And importantly, what must farmers do to ready themselves for next year, five years and fifteen years down the track?

The general consensus was a resounding round of applause for John Matthews. The issues he identified continue to be key drivers today. The technological developments he envisioned are progressing towards the 2030 deadline with examples of commercially developed gantries now being tested on farms in Europe.

The NIAE Gantry image from John Matthews paper
The ASALift Gantry tractor in 2013
The ASALift Gantry tractor in 2013

John Matthews article included a robotic harvester. We know the computing and actuation required for that is still tricky, but it seems quite probable robotic harvesting will be feasible and possible it will be relatively common by 2030.

The NIAE robotic harvester image from Matthews' paper
The NIAE robotic harvester image from Matthews’ paper

Perhaps his control tower windows are more likely to be computer monitors, and he didn’t know about smart phones, but his vision of the role computing would play is remarkably close – though perhaps thanks to Moore’s law and compounding development we have already got further than he estimated.

The NIAE image of a farm computer appears to have a rack for storage disks, but also shows a microphone and aerial perhaps for wireless communications.

Maybe the design (how) is different to now, but much of the what of John Matthews’ predictions suggests he deserves a high score.


Farm of 2030 – Technical Session

Friday 22 May 2015 (By Application)

A forum for lead farmers and technologists

Intention:   Scoping research and farm technology needs



  • 60 second introductions (all)
  • Defining future farm problems and challenges
  • Lead presentations
  • Discussion of key issues

We have a great gathering of presenters and delegates at LandWISE 2015. We are taking the opportunity to enable a deeper discussion of key issues, and providing a forum to make new contacts and enhance networking.

There are limited places at this event for which applications are invited.


MicroFarm Open Day 3-5pm 2 April 2014

Ballance web150  BASF web  CLAW-light-150

The second MicroFarm Open Day date will focus on beans, sweetcorn and water management.

Bean planting P6 Airey 3 web

Bean planting – Richard Airey picture

The green beans are destined for McCain Foods Hastings plant. The four micropaddocks include demonstrations of:

  • Two row spacings 20″ and 15″
  • Four plant populations
  • Different varieties
  • Drip vs spray irrigation
  • Phosphorus: non vs normal vs double rate
  • Herbicide management variations

Sweetcorn demonstrations

  • Strip-till
  • No irrigation
  • Drip irrigation
  • Very late spray irrigation

Irrigation discussion

  • Soil monitoring records from 2013-2014 crops
  • Where crops are getting water from
  • Impact of drought stress
  • Cost of drought stress

More details on the MicroFarm website

Many thanks to:

Ballance AgriNutrients, BASF Crop Protection, Centre for Land and Water, ThinkWater, Netafim, HydroServices, McCain Foods, FruitFed Supplies, Agronica NZ, Nicolle Contracting, Te Mata Contractors, Drumpeel Farms, Agnew Hort, Greville Ground Spraying, True Earth Organics, Tasman Harvesting, Plant & Food Research and Peracto Research for support with this work.

2014 LandWISE Conference

Ever Better: Farmers, land and water

21 – 22 May 2014
Awapuni Function Centre, Palmerston North


Many thanks to our Platinum Sponsors, BASF Crop Protection and John Deere who actively put their support behind the conference. This extends the support they have already given LandWISE for previous events and our MicroFarm initiative.

Our Gold Sponsors are Horizons Regional Council, Potatoes New Zealand/Process Vegetables New Zealand and Trimble Ag specialists, GPS Control Systems. They are also long term and positive LandWISE supporters.

And thanks to our many returning sponsors for ongoing support, and to the new sponsors who also see benefit in the work LandWISE does.

Conference Programme

A draft programme outline is available here>

The theme reflects the increasing demands on farmers to demonstrate effective stewardship of the land and water resource that underpins their businesses. We have a guided tour of an intensively cropped catchment where farmers are working to achieve water quality that meets community expectations and values.

Having our Conference in a different region acts on our mission to promote sustainable farming and smart technologies to as wide an audience as possible. We previously held the conference in Palmerston North and Gisborne with good attendances and we expect a good response in 2014.

Other prospective Sponsors and Trade Displays can contact us anytime at

We want a big turnout at LandWISE 2014. We encourage you to use your communication channels to ensure as many interested people as possible know, value, register and attend. We look forward to your support.


Wairakaia Station is Supreme

Congratulations LandWISE Members Bruce and Jo Graham. Together with Rob and Sandra Faulkner, they have been named Supreme winners of the 2014 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

There is a Ballance Farm Environment Awards Field Day at Wairakaia on Thursday 27th March 2014 for those keen to see the farm and hear what the families have been doing.

More information on the Ballance AgriNutrients website>

BFEA -Faulkner and GrahamBallance AgriNutrients photo

The Faulkners and the Grahams run a 600ha family farm ‘Wairakaia’ at Muriwai south of Gisborne.  At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on February 20, Wairakaia also collected the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and The East Coast Farming For The Future Award.

Bruce was part of LandWISE project work looking into strip tillage and precision agriculture techniques. He started his GPS journey with the purchase of a lightbar for spraying in 2006. In 2009 he purchased Trimble RTK and EZI steer, allowing him to drive hands-free and focus on the implements and results behing the tractor. Wairakaia hosted LandWISE field days to help extend knowledge of these practices.