Electric farm machinery and solar panels turn heads and inspire others.
Forest Lodge is a cherry orchard in Central Otago. Its founders believe that agriculture should be grounded in sustainable, low-carbon practices. They’ve built their farm to suit.
To avoid burning diesel, the team have sourced electric machinery from across the world. They have an electric mower from the USA. Frost-fighting fans from South Africa. And a utility vehicle from China. Next, they want to source New Zealand’s first electric tractor.
They also have a large system of solar panels to run their irrigation. Because of the strong Otago sun, they expect the panels to pay for themselves in just 6 years. Plus save a huge amount of diesel.
Next, the team will get two electric vehicles. They’re just waiting for the most suitable farm vehicles to become available.
Forest Lodge’s dedication has turned heads and inspired others. “We’ve had a huge amount of attention,” says Mike Casey, Co-founder. “We’ve gained a grant from the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority. And we’ve hosted a successful demonstration day, attracting 60 growers from across the region.”