About the farm
Inverary Station is a 4,250 hectares sheep and beef property in the hill country of mid-Canterbury. Inverary has about 3000 hectares of the harder hill country with limited useful grazing and 650 hectares of the easier hill country with better soils that is suitable for grazing. The rest of Inverary is largely rolling or flat country with good cultivatable soils capable of growing large quantities of high-quality dry matter. There are sunny and shady faces on most hill blocks but the high proportion of low-quality browntop dominant pastures leads to surpluses of poor quality feed when it’s not needed and makes it difficult to generate enough high-quality pasture when it is critical to have it available.
What is being trialed and why?
Regular quadrat cuts from exclosure cages on various pasture types across the farm were taken between August 2019 and January 2020 to determine the differences in production between lucerne, improved pasture and unimproved pasture in this hill country environment.
The average accumulated production was 9,000 kg of dry matter per hectare from the lucerne, 10,500 kg per hectare from the improved pasture and 2,100 kg per hectare from the unimproved pasture. In January this year we visited Inverary Station to look for a site for a fertiliser experiment. After looking at a number of potential sites, with the accompanying soil chemistry data, it was decided that soil macronutrient levels were generally optimum and legume growth responses to fertiliser additions were unlikely. Therefore, there are no plans to establish a fertiliser experiment at Inverary Station.
Monitoring sensor networks for soil temperature and soil moisture have also been established on this farm. The temperature and soil moisture sensors are placed at a depth of 30 cm. These sensor networks record data in onboard storage and report back to cloud storage via a gateway site to the cell phone data network. The data from these sensor networks are being used to test capability to map the spatial pattern of both temperature and moisture across complex hill country landscapes and relate this to productivity models for legumes.
Photos of Inverary