The Demeter and BioGro certified farm 'Milmore Downs' lies in the Scargill valley, one and a quarter hours north of Christchurch and not far from the turn off at Greta Valley on State Highway one. It comprises 302 ha in 2 blocks. The flats at home carry crops, sheep and cattle whereas the hill block has predominantly permanent pasture for sheep and dry cattle.
The main crops, grown in a rotation that also includes pasture, are Dinkel/spelt, oats, barley, wheat, rye and red lentils. 800 sheep and 70 cattle graze herbal ley pastures and are an important tool for converting the cereal straws to valuable manure.
Although predominantly dry land there is a flood harvest irrigation system that takes winter flows from a small stream and stores them in a man-made lake for summer use. There are extensive wind shelter plantings which along with the use of deep rooting species in herbal ley pastures also add to drought proofing the farm. However, the main climatic difficulty that is impossible to protect against are the out of season frosts - temperatures below zero can be expected any month of the year. Imagine a frost on Boxing day. It has happened!
The Biodynamic preparations are produced on the farm and are regularly sprayed to stimulate soil fertility and strengthen the plants.