The Gumboot Revolution
Back in 1977 two large private companies supplied superphosphate in New Zealand. When Kempthorne Prosser announced it was going to be buying its rival, Dunedin-based Dominion fertilisers, farmers were up in arms, and the gumboot revolution began.
Already frustrated by rising input costs and falling fertiliser quality, they would now be at the mercy of a monopoly. Then as now, fertiliser is a significant cost, second only to servicing farm debt.
The presidents of the South Canterbury, Otago and North Otago Federated Farmers went to farmers in the area to ask them to become founding members of a new co-operative. Ravensdown eventually mounted a takeover bid for KP which was completed on 16 August 1978.
The Ravensdown Timeline
Begin trading as Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative on 1 November.
Becomes a 100% farmer owned co-operative with the purchase of the remaining shares from FERNZ. East Coast fertiliser merges with Ravensdown.
Sets up the Fertmark scheme to assure farmers of quality.
Acquires 100% of Analytical Research Laboratories to pass on discounts to shareholders.
Launches Ravensdown Direct so customers can now purchase directly from their co-operative. Ravensdown enters the animal health market.
Launches its agrochemical range.
Launches its anthelmintic range. Wanganui Aerowork is purchased to assure hill country farmers of ongoing application.
Becomes New Zealand's largest spreading company.
Forms partnership with Cropmark Seeds to give shareholders access to high-performing cultivars. Acquires C-DAX manufacturer of spraying spreading and pasture measuring technologies.
Develops new online tools used to track and plan nutrient application. Works with industry to deliver a Nutrient Management Adviser certification scheme.
Announces Government-backed research programme into aerial soil testing and spreading. Launches environmental consultancy service.
Animal Health Technical Managers and Agronomists join Agri Managers to give integrated advice.
Ravensdown pays its first ever early (interim) rebate for fertiliser so that shareholders are paid in June instead of September.
Ravensdown celebrates its 40th anniversary since being set up by pioneering farmers.
Ravensdown redefines its purpose: to enable smarter farming for a better New Zealand.
The environmental team becomes the largest farm environmental consultancy in New Zealand.