When Coldstream Estate near Ashburton shears their lambswool in February, there are posters of glerups footwear on the walls.
“When there’s a whole year’s work and passion that’s gone into something, it’s very important to know where it ends up and to feel a part of that pathway,” says fourth-generation Coldstream grower Alastair Studholme.
“We very proudly talk to people about glerups. I own several pairs myself and the posters in the shearing shed are there to show everyone where the product is going and give us all a sense of purpose.”
The first Europeans at Coldstream Estate go right back to 1854. The first owners built a Kahikitea (white pine) woolshed which remains today and may be the oldest of its kind in the country.
The Studholme family purchased the farm in 1867 and has been run by Alastair and his wife Anne and their two children since 2004.
Coldstream Estate is run as a mixed farm. Paddocks are rotated between pasture, fodder, cereal, seed and vegetable crops. The cropping enterprise involves mostly wheat and barley. Specialist seed crops, including carrot, red beet, rape, clover, peas, broccoli, potatoes and ryegrass have been added to the rotation.
“The sheep fit in amongst our diversity on the farm,” Alastair says. “So they have a wide range of dietary food and as a result they are healthier and we don’t have to treat them with drenches or for parasites.”
This balance of cropping and sheep is part of the regenerative agriculture practices that Alastair has been implementing over the last 15 years at Coldstream.
“We practise minimal or no-tillage for healthier soils and increased carbon storage.” The changes have been noticeable.
“Our soil is more resilient now to wet or dry or heat or cold. In floods or heavy rain, the soil absorbs more and in dry conditions it holds more moisture. It also holds nutrients better so there’s less leaching.”
Natural springs on the property are fenced and planted with natives to protect them.
This commitment to farming that gives back has made Coldstream a natural fit for New Zealand Merino’s regenerative farming platform, ZQRX.
“When I first started regenerative farming everybody looked at me as if I was mad, but now it’s becoming the norm,” Alastair says.
The Studholmes love sharing their farm with visitors and opened an accommodation venture in an historic building five years ago. Coldstream Estate borders the magnificent braided Rangitata River for five kilometres. With its headwaters high in the Southern Alps the Rangitata River is world renowned for its Chinook salmon Rainbow trout.
“Before Covid, we only had international visitors, and then during Covid only Kiwis, but now with the borders open again we have a nice mix.”
Like Glerups, Coldstream Estate is a family business, built on passion and care for the land.