From the ground up

Royalburn Station is one of the oldest farms in New Zealand. Founded in 1887 by William McKibbon, its pioneering heritage is steeped in grain – growing wheat and barley for the gold miners’ and early settlers’ essentials of bread and beer. 

Royalburn covers 1,200 acres, positioned on the flat to rolling area known as the Crown Terrace on the Crown Range Road that winds between Arrowtown and Wanaka. We’re truly an alpine farm, ranging from 600 to 1,000 metres above sea level. Our climate could be described as semi-arid, with plummeting temperatures and snow in winter, and dry, scorching hot days in summer. 

We’re blessed to have silt-based barrhill soils that are incredibly fertile and well suited to growing cereals and seeds. With a nod to Mr Mckibbin’s interest in grain over one hundred years ago, we’ve continued to build on that arable production. Today we grow more than seven hundred tonnes of various spray-free seeds and cereals such as sunflowers, wheat, barley and peas annually. 

Twenty acres is home to an organic market garden, growing numerous lines of seasonal vegetables, as well as heritage seed multiplication trials. 

Sunset behind trees

Livestock remain a crucial part of soil management for converting plant material into natural fertiliser, keeping on top of weeds, and pollinating crops. We have several thousand sheep, millions of bees, hundreds of chickens and a handful of cattle. All our animals live and roam in a genuinely free-range environment and habitat sympathetic to their natural instincts. There are no barns or sheds to confine them and definitely no cages or feedlots. Our animals enjoy a natural, free-ranging diet and are cared for using the best livestock husbandry practices.

Royalburn is creating a whole new ecosystem for food production. We’ve split the farm into three independent (yet intertwined) areas with livestock, arable and horticulture operations. We aim to promote truly sustainable, circular, regenerative food production, delivering directly to consumers within our local region.