The 57 hectare Kowhai Farm is an important research site and teaching resource used by the wider Canterbury community.
It is managed according to the BIO-GRO Organic Production Standards following it's conversion from conventional cropping to full organic BIO-GRO certification by leading Australasian Food Manufacturer, Heinz Wattie's.
Heinz Watties developed Kowhai Farm as a demonstration farm to encourage more farmers to grow organically. An important part of Kowhai Farm has been to improve whole-farm profitability for organic farmers by investigating possible sustainable organic rotations.
The winner of an Environment Canterbury Environmental Enhancement Award, Kowhai Farm Heinz Wattie's has invested considerably in building soil structure and natural fertility. This has been through the establishment of pasture in the crop rotation and growing winter green mature crops and incorporating crop residues where possible.
The Farm was granted full BIO-GRO certification in August 2002 and must reapply for certification each year. This involves an audit of practices and documentation relating to the previous year's production and validation of the forthcoming years management plan.
BIO-GRO Standards are based on the organic principles of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), a global organisation based in Germany.
A three-year research programme funded by the NZ Ministry for the Environment was conducted largely on Kowhai Farm. It led to the publication of the report available: Biodiversity on Farmland (PDF 3 MB).