John and Margaret Scrimgeour of Nikau Trust


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2022 Finalists: John and Margaret Scrimgeour of Nikau Trust

At their heart, John and Margaret Scrimgeour are dairy farmers but that hasn’t stopped them diversifying into highly successful avocado and kiwifruit orchards.

The couple started sharemilking in the 1970s, quickly moving on to purchase their own property. They bought the first block of Nikau in 1989 and have expanded and developed it into a consistently high-performing Te Puke business.

Originally, Nikau was all dairy but – as the farm evolved – this diversified to include avocado and kiwifruit. About 60% of their income now comes from dairying and in 2020 their cows produced just over 140,000kg of milk solids. They are focused on maintaining quality, productive pastures that don’t need continual replacement.

As they added more gently contoured land to the property, they established kiwifruit orchards from scratch. The fruit is now grown across about 15ha of the property and, in 2020, about 36,000 trays were produced from 2ha. They expect this to increase rapidly as the remainder of the orchard comes into production over the next couple of years.

The expansion also included avocado trees and they’ve developed this orchard to cover almost 8ha. Over the past six years, avocado production has averaged about 10,000 trays which supply both local and international markets.

Developing an integrated, diversified business contributes to the property’s sustainability, along with careful planning and management.

John and Margaret were encouraged to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards by various people they work with and see it as an opportunity for feedback on their hard work to date.

As they look to the future, they’re keen to put in further plantings to enhance use of the hill sides, and try out new pest control options in the orchards. They regard Nikau as special place to live and work – a place that has given them great satisfaction and fulfilment as they’ve enhanced both the property and business.

John and Margaret are the winners of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award.

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