HMI Open Gate Greta Valley Day

Amazing Grazing: Practices for Regenerating Pastures

Greta Valley, North Canterbury

Monday and Tuesday May 8th & 9th

Locals transforming farm and family resilience

What's the underlying issue for your property?

Lack of rainfall absorption and storage?

Growing season cut short by the dry?

Pastures lacking vitality?

Do you want...

To link up with experienced local grazing innovators?  


Greater resilence with adverse weather events?  

Less stress grazing?


Find out how grazing can:


Bring more freedom and less stress 

Enhance rainfall effectiveness

Reduce pasture renovation

Lengthen growing seasons

Improve water quality

Deepen pasture roots 

Eliminate erosion

Invigorate soils


Early bird registration till April 24th, three options...

Early Bird for Monday May 8th is $50.00, otherwsie $60.00

Numbers attending:
Names of those attending
Email for further updates

Early Bird for Tuesday May 9th is $100.00, otherwise $120.00

Numbers attending:
Names of those attending
Email for further updates

Early Bird fee for both days is $150.00, Otherwise $180.00

Numbers attending:
Names attending
Email for further updates

If you would rather pay by direct credit or bring payment on the day, register with John to request an invoice - click here


To Stay at Greta Valley, contact Mike on 03 314 5922


Agenda Monday 8th 

8.30. Registrations

9.00. Introductions and orientation

9.30. Benefits of Longer Pastures - Scott McFadden

10.00. Earthworms: Soil Superheroes - Dr Nicole Schon

10.45. Smoko

11.15. Local Observations of Regenerating Pastures - Rob Flynn

12.00. Diverse Pastures, Our Experience - Mark Stevenson

12.45.  Lunch

1.30. Rethinking Grazing Logic - Malcolm White

2.15. Observation exercises - John King

3.00. Smoko

3.30. Never run out of grass - John King

4.00. Preview Day 2 David Fincham/James Costello

4.30. Summary and Evalution of Day

5.00. Finish

Agenda Tuesday 9th

9.00. Meet on Site, housekeeping...

9.30. Visit and discuss diverse pastures - David Fincham/John King/Rob Flynn

11.30. Lunch/Drive to next property

1.00. Meet on Site - James Costello/John King/Rob Flynn

1.30. Visit and discuss pasture and grazing for dry conditions - John King/Rob Flynn

3.30. Summary and Evaluation of Day

4.00. Finish


Nicole Schon

Nicole Schon is a scientist at AgResearch in Lincoln specialising in services earthworms provide farming landscapes; in particular improving rainfall absorption, pasture growth, and carbon storage resulting in pasture production increases by 20%. We quantify the financial benefits of earthworms and how this is influenced by species diversity. Further we explore the implications of changes in management, such as stocking rate, on earthworm populations.

Rob Flynn

Rob farms with Lauren and family at Greta Valley since early 1980s.  Become concerned about looming issues with common farming practices, especially fertiliser use and grazing management.  Started Soil Matters consultancy in 2003 to help farmers address these issues.  

Scott McFadden

Scott comes from a family with a strong tradition in caring for the land and has been farming at Acheron since 2000.  As the property is uneconomic to develop further, changes in Scott’s grazing regime grows feed on hills for stock to graze rather than feed out.  He is now seeing faster pasture recovery, more legumes, and less thistles after drought.


Mark Stevenson

Mark and Joanne Stevenson farm with Mark's parents Ian and Trish at The Gums near Cheviot.  Their recent pasture renovation programme includes pastures mixes with cocksfoot, brome, philaris, lucerne, sub-clover, and plantain to deal with dry conditions.  Mark will present observations of using pasture mixes to maintain productivity.


Malcolm White

Malcolm and Twix White farm Bairnsdale deep in Puketririri Valley, Hawkes Bay.  They run sheep and cattle on a low cost/input system 240ha hill country.  They’ve been practicing Holistic Management for 5 years and changed their grazing system to promote active soil carbon.  With summer droughts they've found traditional stocking rates meaningless so now alter spring stocking rates to build standing feed so they never run out of grass over summer.


James Costello


James and Lauren Costello farm at Harwarden.  James has a reputation for straight talking and action.  Upon buying his farm he calculated he could grow feed cheaper with fence and stock water than irrigation.  He now uses a range of technologies to optimise production and negate impacts of climate and soils on the banks of the Hurunui river.


David Fincham


David and Sandy Fincham have been farming organically for 10 years.  David began exploring diverse pasture mixes and moving to a low-input system.  A change to longer pasture recovery between grazing leading to taller pasture was driven by reducing bare soil and its negative effects on rainfall absorption and erosion of fertility.  This was followed by a change of livestock breed.  He also crops linseed and cereals.


John King 

John King is an agribusiness tutor at Organic Training College, Lincoln University and recently at Western TAFE, Orange, NSW, Australia.  A facilitator, speaker, and writer on Allan Savory’s Holistic Management and how livestock can enhance environmental services to reduce farm risk.  John draws on observations and practices for regenerating pastures from an extensive global network.