Upper Clutha Agricultural Show 2019

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sunrise, en-route to Wanaka, Mount Pisa area

The main agricultural event of the southern year finally rolled around and Growplan was there. This is a great show in the mountains with great weather –  well, either great or awful. This time great. I went hoping to meet farmers needing advice on riparian, shelter and screening and timberbelts, nutrient runoff, design of the home garden and more.

A 3:30 start from Southland to arrive early and set up the tent with posters and to get breakfast (yummy steak pie and giant choc cookie at The Doughbin) before the day starts. I’m here alone so won’t have much of a break till day’s end at 5. I never go more than 100m from my site and almost always in eyesight – loo trips and runs for hot drinks are brief, often passing by the Boer goats en-route:

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Prize-winning Boer goats thinking of food
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across showgrounds to Mt Alpha ridge

The whole site is 800m long with 100’s of trade stands, I saw about 10 of them very briefly but no matter as I came away with six farms to call plus a complex garden for a steep hillside home. And something new this year, other consultants visiting to ask me to work with them on everything from conservation subdivisions to soil and site repair –   my previous post exploring land restoration.

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With one of my  new agriculture-specific posters
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I like a through-and-through tent despite everyone wanting it as a shortcut

I’ve had site W7 for three years now and intend to keep on with it, Wanaka’s the only regular show I now attend as it’s consistent, has a wide demographic (it’s also a Friday\Saturday show which makes for a more serious business show) and it’s in Wanakaautoplay video – there’s everything here from wild to mild,  and a very different, more natural, much more chilled place than Queenstown.

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When it all gets a bit much five minutes on the beach solves the world’s problems
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And the Queensberry Inn to recover at days end

I really want to stay at the Queensberry Inn again, it was a great place to unwind between show days with no distractions; no tv, very little net access and half a bar on the cell; just how the mountains should be enjoyed. In the morning just before I left I saw a NZ falcon – Falco novaeseelandiae – following thermals along a ridge which is as good a start to the day as any.


5 thoughts on “Upper Clutha Agricultural Show 2019

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  1. Even though I am not there, and this show is not of any use to me, It is cool to see how similar the region is to here. It sort of makes me wonder how similar the horticultural concerns are.

    1. It may look similar but Wanaka has a kind of extreme Mediterranean climate. Summer maxes of approx 35C, July minimums of ~-8C (although a few km away from town in the mountains and it’s -20). The town itself gets a lot of winter inversions with sub-zero for weeks on end under a dense very low cloud layer. Rainfall (inc a little snow) around 800mm year. Fohn winds are common (and can be very unpleasant with very rapid air pressure and humidity changes, the latte very hard on plants).

      People who mow grass cut for about 38 weeks as growth is nil for the cold season.

      Soils, well Ripponvale Vineyard publishes their soils, and I’d say that is quite accurate. There are also areas of an anaerobic clay know locally as ‘the blue pug’ as it never drains

      1. Goodness! It looks so ‘normal’. We have quite a variety of climate within a small area too, but only those at high altitudes or far inland are so extreme. Parts of the Mojave Desert get very hot, but they are not near here. The Sierra Nevada is th snowiest place in the World, but it too is not exactly close. We get neither snow, nor extreme heat, yet, it looks something like your region.

  2. I enjoyed your description of the show and area, Nigel! Your pictures of the mountains and the beach are inviting, and the Queensbury Inn is a real gem! How wonderful that you got some new business opportunities!

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