18 January 2019
After 72 years of contributing to local and regional research, AgResearch’s grazing and arable Research Station at
Winchmore, North-West of Ashburton is to be sold.
Winchmore was originally purchased in 1946, with a focus on providing local research into the use of border dyke
irrigation. Long term fertiliser trials were started in the 1950s and together the site has contributed to more than 500
AgResearch Director of Infrastructure John O’Dea says, “Projects and priorities have changed in recent years, which has
seen more research conducted on commercial farms or small scale intensive research. This means the Winchmore site has
primarily focused on the long term fertiliser trials.”
The 4.1-hectare fertiliser trial has been in place since the 1950s, and will continue operating beyond the sale of the
farm. The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand has signed a 35-year lease with AgResearch to ensure the long-term
fertiliser research trials at Winchmore continue.
Chief Executive of the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand Vera Power says, “The site has been providing extremely
useful information for almost 70 years now.”
“This has allowed us to track changes to pastoral land as agriculture evolves and supports our evidence base for
Winchmore’s fertiliser trials are New Zealand’s longest running fertiliser trials under pasture. They complement the
other long-term fertiliser trial, on North Island Hill Country, near the Manawatu Gorge.
“The combination of Lismore soils and spray irrigation at Winchmore will enable a wide range of future cropping and
grazing options. Modern de-stoning technology now means the stony Lismore soils are regarded as some of the most sought
after and productive soils for intensive vegetable and arable production,” Mr O’Dea says.
Crops on farm this season include potatoes, wheat, barley, maize, peas and specialist seed crops, with a small area
retained in Lucerne and permanent pasture. Historically, the farm had limited winter-forage cropping, and was primarily
used as a grazing property.
Originally 308 hectares, the farm is being subdivided into two parcels, either side of the Dromore Methven Road, with
the larger parcel of approximately 247 hectares to be sold on the open market.
Winchmore provides a range of buildings from offices, meeting rooms, workshop and implement sheds, to a woolshed and
covered yards, and a new set of cattle yards with a concrete base.
The farm will be offered for sale by deadline private treaty, with offers to be received by the end of February (if not
In 2017, Winchmore’s irrigation was upgraded from border dyke (flood) irrigation to overhead sprinkler irrigation, in
line with the transition across Canterbury to more water efficient irrigation systems.
“The sale of Winchmore will enable AgResearch to invest in its wider research facilities, and thus continue driving
prosperity by transforming agriculture,” Mr O’Dea says.