Wednesday 16 November 2016


Firstly, I’d like to say a big hello to all our blog followers reading this - I sincerely hope you’re enjoying the H2Grow blog that we’re putting together to help you gain more understanding about irrigation and ways in which you can increase the efficiency of not only the irrigation on your property but your farming system in general. But enough about that; let me introduce myself and my motivation for bringing the H2Grow blog to life…

I was born and bred on an arable farm in Mid Canterbury. Like Sarah Elliot I have very fond memories of growing up on the farm and following my Dad and Poppa around on the farm from a very young age. I had pet lambs, and calves, rode ponies, helped feed out, shifted break fences, drove tractors and as I got older, shifted gun irrigators. Because of my love for farming and everything outdoors after I finished high school I went to Lincoln University to study a Bachelor of Agricultural Science. I loved my time at Lincoln, however was getting itchy feet as lots of my friends were travelling so in the third year of my four year degree I decided to get my own travel fix while still continuing my studies by undertaking a year of ‘Study Abroad’ at Colorado State University in the USA. I had an absolute blast and got to take specialist papers on things such as irrigation and Precision Agriculture that we couldn’t do here in NZ which made me think how we could adopt some of the cool things they were doing on farms in the USA back here in NZ. So, I came back to NZ, completed my degree and fresh out of Uni and a bit green, started New Zealand’s first specialist Precision Ag company Agri Optics New Zealand in conjunction with my parents. Over the years we’ve grown the company both in terms of size and also the range of products and services that we offer. We’re now up to a staff of four people and we offer our products and services across the whole of New Zealand.

Discussing the benefits of precision agriculture technologies and practices at a North Otago field day following some very successful trials on the property
While I’m not as hands-on on the cropping farm that I used to be in my younger days, I still keep my hands in the mix with helping with Precison Ag decision making. I also have moved (slightly) further south to Geraldine, South Canterbury where my husband’s family have a sheep & beef farm. The two types of farming are completely different and both offer their unique challenges and advantages. I feel privileged to be involved with both & hopefully with increases in efficiency and the use of technology will be able to take these farms forward sustainably and allow our daughter the upbringing on the farm that my husband and I both have such fond memories of.

Hard at work dosing ewes and lambs on our lease block with Paige learning the ropes
It’s been a great journey so far and I’m sure the future will be just as exciting!

Jemma Mulvihill