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The Nelson Photo News



Keeping The Pastures Healthy

New Zealand's economy is dependent, largely, on the primary produce that flows off the farms, big and small, to overseas markets the year round. To ensure that this flow continues, our primary producers appreciate that pastures must be kept in top condition to support stock. This is no easy task, and without the help, of fertilisers available to the farmers, almost impossible. And so, it could be said that fertiliser firms like W. L. Lawry Ltd, at Brightwater, are in the animal husbandry business. Many farmers at this time of the year are topdressing their pastures, and we thought it opportune for a small picture story on this subject. We chose Lawry's lime and fertiliser works, as the nucleus of the story.

The firm was started by Mr W. L. Lawry about 35 years ago in the Lee Valley, at the site of the quarry from which it draws all its lime today. Later the firm shifted its crushing plant into Bright-water, and here is processed, each year, about 5000 to 6000 tons of lime. The quarry itself is a huge one of eight floors. At regular intervals an area is drilled and blasted and the rough, limestone rock is carted by truck to Brightwater, there to be processed into powdery lime which can be spread easily from the air (in the more inaccessible areas) or by ground machines, on the flatter surfaces.

Our picture above shows a top dressing aircraft of Aerial Sowing Ltd, piloted by Dennis Atkinson, spreading fertiliser in the Cable Bay area. The aircraft operates from a runway close to the area to be treated. It will take off and land many times before the job is completed. Upon each landing, a tractor with hopper attached quickly fills the aircraft hopper with fertiliser (left).


The spreading of the lime, however, ia really the end of the story. It begins in the quarry, where Peter Thomas drills the holes for the blasting (above). At each blasting, 10ft slices of hillside are peeled from the quarry floors. The rough limestone rock (below) is then fed into a crusher at the quarry (operated here by Ernie Thompson) before being trucked into Brightwater to be re-crushed into a fine powder.



The huge jaws of the crusher at the quarry devour with ease a great chunk of limestone rock.


For ground-level dressing the now powdered lime is trucked to the farm to be dressed (as being done here by Kevin Berkett).


The lime is transferred to a bulk lime sower (operated here by Gary Berkett) and the fine lime is blown out of the machine by spinners over the pasture (right).