An exacting approach

Not so long ago the thought of a machine that maps soil texture and organic matter while carrying out instant soil pH tests was the stuff of arable farmer fantasy.

But four of Canterbury’s better known arable farmers have invested in just such a piece of equipment, a timely move in this increasingly regulatory environment of nutrient-use efficiency and nutrient management.

Nuffield scholar Michael Tayler had seen the Veris MSP3 – a machine that measures and maps three soil components in one pass – while on his scholarship travels and had been impressed.

Back home, a conversation with three other arable farmers – Nick Ward, Hugh Wigley and Colin Hurst – ultimately led to the decision to invest in this piece of precision equipment.

The four of them imported the machine and set up a company, SMART AG Solutions.

Certainly the stars aligned when they employed Seaun Lovell to operate both the machine and the business.

He had recently moved to New Zealand after a 22-year career in the British Army as a tactical ground-to-air communications specialist with the Joint Helicopter Force.

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