You might say that lime is in Greer Manderson’s bones. Her grandfather Jim started Northland’s Avoca lime business just after World War Two and her dad Bryce still runs it.
Greer (22) has done a couple of seasons with Avoca (and her younger brother Hamish works there) but her attention has turned to the science of lime.
Now completing Honours at Lincoln in a BSc (Biological and Environmental Sciences) at Canterbury University, Greer reckons lime has become neglected as a soil conditioner and nutrient. She’s doing some of her honours study on the contribution that lime makes to addressing soil acidity, how it impacts legumes (with specific reference to white clover and lucerne), and what role liming has to play in the context of our national soils.
Greer says she wanted to look at the effects and benefits of liming especially as its use appears to be declining in New Zealand.
As she finishes her final term at university, Greer is now looking to make a career as a soil ecologist.
Her interest may have started due to being part of a lime quarrying family but it all clicked early last year after Bryce flew down to take her to a presentation by Dr Christine Jones.
This internationally renowned and highly respected groundcover and soils ecologist has spent much of her life working with innovative landholders to implement regenerative land management practices that enhance soil health and subsequent ecosystem functioning; e.g. biodiversity, productivity, and water quality.
The fact that lime is a natural product and can contribute to regenerative practices lit the fuse for Greer.
“My big interest is supporting regenerative agriculture,” she says in a Zoom interview from Lincoln.
She explains how the main purpose of lime applied in New Zealand is to reduce soil acidity, but in the process adds calcium to the soil; a critical plant nutrient.
“I’ve been brought up knowing the importance of it. Now I’m passionate about getting messages across regarding the benefits of this natural compound.
“Everything starts in the soil. I think we humans believe we are bigger than it, but we are linked to it.”
Greer is starting work next year with Canterbury-based regenerative agriculture advocate and consultant, Jono Frew. You can bet the benefits of lime will pop up from time to time. It’s in Greer’s bones.
• Bryce Manderson has been working with the Aggregate and Quarry Association to launch the NZ Limestone Producers Association to help promote the use of limestone and provide information about its benefits. AQA
Photo: Greer Manderson with her dad Bryce standing in a regenerative diverse pasture at Lake Hawea Station.