Appetite to keep learning a defining trait

David Grant. Photo: Toni Williams
David Grant. Photo: Toni Williams
The picturesque view from David and Roz Grant’s kitchen, in Methven, looks towards snow-covered Mt Hutt.

But in late summer, when the snow is gone, it will be the view of the Grant’s field of white-flowered carrots, grown for seed, that will draw the eye.

The carrots have been freshly sown in the ground but there are still 2000 store lambs and 900 grazing dairy cows to manage on grassed paddocks, and ryegrass fields to maintain.

David is just enjoying the lull before it gets busy again.

He has spent the past four decades in the arable field and sharing information with others.

He is open to growing new crops such as hemp and quinoa but often returns to demand market crops such as herbage, feed wheat and break crop brassicas, clover, raddish and carrots.

David, a second generation arable farmer on the property, was named Federated Farmers Arable Farmer of the Year 2021 this month, but is humble about the win.

It was recognition of his involvement within the industry but he thought there were others worthy of the title.

‘‘It’s an honour to get it, but there are plenty of arable farmers of the year out there,’’ he said.

He has been farming at Methven for more than 40 years.

After studying at Lincoln University he started working alongside his late-father Graeme (and mother Nola) on the Pudding Hill Road farm.

It was 1977 and then the farm spanned across 197ha.

David’s enthusiasm to learn saw him go on to spend 14 years on the Foundation of Arable Research (Far) board. He was there from 2003 to 2017.

He still believed in its value for those in the arable industry.

‘‘It’s a small industry but it’s very well served,’’ he said.

New Zealand had some of the leading researchers in herbage such has Murray Kelly, of PGG Wrightson, Phil Rolston and Richard Chynoweth, of Far, David said.

‘‘We were also lucky enough to have Nick Pyke as Far chief executive officer (prior to Dr Alison Stewart) and Nick Poole, a cereal specialist.’’

David often has farm trials being run on the farm that benefit not only his operation, but also others in the industry. They could include fertiliser, chemical and plant variety trials.

In the award he was praised for his work with Far — as well as his innovation and information sharing — and for setting a standard of excellence for the industry.

He attributed the farm's increased production to the input from Far and his son Sam’s drive in growing the operation to where it is today.

The shared work of Far had opened up the industry to a wealth of knowledge, all with complete independence from any company alignment, he said.

The farm, now run under Grant Trading Ltd, is owned by David and Roz, alongside son Sam and his wife Hannah. It has grown to 700ha effective farmland on blocks around Methven and Lyndhurst.

They also have two other adult children — Nick, who is in rural banking and Julia, an iron woman athlete and is expecting the Grant’s third grandchild.


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