Brent & Anna Fisher, Canterbury

A passion for development.


Brent Fisher was clearly up for a challenge when he purchased 512ha on the margin of Lake Ellesmere, in Canterbury twelve years ago, followed by another 400ha across the road on the Banks Peninsula hills nine years later.

Brent says, “The main property was developed out of gorse and rushes. Improving it has been a continuous process. The soils are fairly new, with lots of weeds, so we have used annual grasses and crops to get it all cleaned up. We’ve thrown ourselves at it and hoped for the best really.”

Brent has formed a strong relationship with both Ballance and Farmlands in their time on the property: “We have been Ballance and Farmlands shareholders since the start, and their recommendations and advice have been good.

“Shane King, from Farmlands, has offered good advice on sprays and crops. He also organised all of the fencing material for the hill block – we have put up about 16km of fence there in the last couple of years.

“When it comes to fertiliser advice we ring Russell Hamilton, our local Ballance rep, and say, “This is what we are doing, this is our soil test, what should we do?” This season he has made recommendations for our peas and barley and for a lot of our regrassing.”

The Fisher’s two properties work well together and suit cattle. It’s ideal land for their pride and joy, their Charolais stud, which is run alongside 250 fattening cattle, 900 dairy heifer grazers and 700 Romney cross ewes producing lambs for finishing.

They also have 100ha in crops, including peas, barley, maize and fodder beet – which does well in the saline conditions on the lake edge.

Brent says, “A lot of our land improvement has revolved around building up the soil’s organic matter, which helps hold nutrients in the soil, but overall it has taken a combination of elements including subdivision, drainage, fertility, and irrigation.” When looking to the future Brent notes, “We seem to be compulsive developers but it would be nice to take stock now. We are in a consolidation period where the infrastructure we have put in is starting to result in production.”

As far as their relationship with Ballance and Farmlands goes, he comments, “We feel as if we are getting good service and good value out of them, we are happy dealing with them.”