The LandWISE Board recently appointed John Evans as LandWISE Chair, replacing long serving Chair Hugh Ritchie. We are delighted that John has agreed to take on the Chairmanship role as we navigate a rapidly changing future for farming and for LandWISE itself.
John and partner Kai Tegels farm a 271 ha Arable and Stock property at Dorie in mid-Canterbury, specialising in vegetable seed production. He actively seeks new knowledge and applies it in innovative ways to achieve sustainable development of the farm.
John was an early adopter of GPS autosteer, high accuracy implement guidance and has trialled most precision agriculture technologies, retaining those that demonstrate value and utility in his farming system. He is a sought after research partner across arable and precision farming and regularly hosts research trials for a range of organisations.
John has been involved with LandWISE since 2004 when he assisted the field testing protocols in the Code of Practice for Irrigation Evaluation with his boom and linear-move irrigators being the first assessed. He has since hosted training courses for people undertaking the National Certification in Irrigation Performance Assessment.
In recent years the farm has seen considerable investment in irrigation development including new technologies and on-farm water storage. John and Kai have an ongoing program planting trees and shrubs to enhance the environment and benefit bees and other beneficial insects.
John noted the strip-tillage work being carried out in Hawke’s Bay and saw a place for it in Canterbury. We arranged a loan of parts from Hugh Ritchie, John built a tool bar and tested the system initially for seed carrot production. He also demonstrated it at a FAR Chertsey field day.
LandWISE links have been maintained through various Sustainable Farming Fund and Foundation for Arable Research projects such as “Short-term forecasting of weather conditions for cropping farmers” which involved assessment of site specific hourly forecasts.
As a farmer member of “Advanced Farming Systems” which included assessing satellite NDVI imagery he was able to identify different plots in a FAR carrot seed trial.
John has maintained a watchful eye on our other initiatives, offering insight and advice. He featured in the LandWISE publication “A Guide to Smart Farming”.
John completed a B Ag Com degree at Lincoln in 1979. He was instrumental in setting up the Certificate in Seed Technology at Lincoln University and completed its first course in 2000. He is a long standing member of FAR’s Mid-Canterbury ARG, a Board member of Process Vegetables NZ and active in process vegetables research.
John’s knowledge and achievements have been widely recognised, including being awarded the Agronomy Society of New Zealand Certificate of Achievement in Agronomy, winning the Ballance AgriNutrients Nutrient Management award and the WaterForce Integrated management award in the 2012 Canterbury Ballance Environmental Awards, and being a finalist in the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of The Year and Innovation Finalist in 2011.