LandWISE MicroFarm Activated

With the generous support of many companies and individuals, the LandWISE MicroFarm is established and active. The first of two vining pea plantings has germinated and the rest is sprayed out in preparation for another planting in late-October.

We are holding the first MicroFarm Open Day on Thursday 5th December 2014. More in our newsletters.

We have set up a separate website for the MicroFarm at There you’ll find an increasing amount of information as we post details of activities, progress and outcomes.

It is the first season of many over the next five years and like others we’ve struggled at times with weather and wet soil. Weather records from the on-site weather station are available on the MicroFarm website at thanks to HortPlus.

With marking the paddocks out, setting AB lines and checking we can fit in the number of rows we want, spraying and planting we’ve driven on our soil a lot. A lot more than we would like. We want to minimise traffic impacts but with many different vehicles involved we’ve not done so well.

James Powrie and Dan Bloomer completed initial Visual Soil Assessments in each of the six Blocks. Worm numbers were lower than expected, contributing to moderate rather than good scores in two Blocks. More details here>

Block 4, with the main access gateway, shows significantly greater evidence of compaction. We’ll monitor that as we go: dealing with residual compaction is a key question as we try to maximise crop production.

Melanie from HydroServices has installed neutron probe soil moisture monitoring sites into Blocks 3 & 4. We are interested to see what the impact of compaction in Block 4 might mean for soil water holding. We’ll post results as testing progresses.

Paul Johnstone, Bruce Searle and Sarah Pethybridge from Plant & Food, together with Fenton Hazelwood and Grant Hagerty from BASF have designed a first look at plant growth regulators to control flowering in vining peas. We hope some control can raise harvestable yield. Vaughan Redshaw and Scott Marillier from Fruitfed Supplies in Hastings have sourced the materials we need. Because of significant rain, Tim Robinson from Peracto and Ben Watson from McCain Foods tested leaf status before first treatments are applied.

The remaining Blocks have been sprayed off for late peas. We are anticipating a slightly later planting date. In part we want to modify Patrick Nicolle’s drill to apply inocculants at planting and the parts have yet to arrive. . .

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