Chris Pellow of Pellow’s Produce


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2023 Finalist: Chris Pellow of Pellow’s Produce – Arable

Over the past 20 years, state-of-the-art cropping techniques have been adopted at this Waikato farm to carefully protect and enhance its soils while maximising production.

Pellows Produce Ltd has an effective area of 146ha, comprised of 122ha in continuous cropping, about 17ha in pasture and 7ha of pine forestry. At the helm is Chris Pellow – the fourth generation of his family to farm this property that has been utilised in many ways over the years.

The home farm is located on the Kaipo flats, and has been in the Pellow family since Chris’s great grandfather purchased it in 1900, cleared the land and developed the farm. His grandfather and father continued the farm’s evolution – milking cows before it was converted to sheep and beef.

Chris returned to the farm in 1989 and changed tack again by growing vegetables for local and export markets. Maize grain was added to the mix in the late 1990s and has been the business’s mainstay since the early 2000s.

Precision technology was introduced around 2005 and this guides the application of fertiliser and chemicals. This use of technology combines with the soil testing of every paddock on a three-year rotation – providing excellent data on which crops should be planted where.

Soil is further enhanced via a no-tillage approach to all cropping, something Chris started trailing in the early 2000s. This is complemented by direct drilling reduces soil disturbance – maintaining the soil’s structure to an impressive 20cm.

To ensure the operation is sustainable and profitable into the future, Chris continually evaluates new crops and tailors farming techniques based on the previous season’s production. He has also undertaken extensive research – giving him a deep knowledge of the farm’s environmental footprint, including its greenhouse gas emissions.

Chris was the winner of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award and Norwood Farming Efficiency Award.

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