The Catlins, Cathedral Caves and New Zealand’s fastest-flowing river are the backdrops to the home of Balclutha Farm Source TSR Cristian Zavala.
Since making the move from Canterbury to Otago, Cristian has been with Balclutha Farm Source for six months and hasn’t looked back.
Originally from Chile, Cristian moved to New Zealand after being exposed to the English language in his job – he believed New Zealand would be the best place to learn it.
So far so good, though one of the challenges of being a TSR, he says, is remembering the names of hundreds of products. Thankfully, if he isn’t quite sure, he says his team are excellent support and will take the time to explain it.
In Chile, Cristian worked as an Agronomist Sales Manager for cooperative business Cooprinsem, which he describes as similar to Farm Source.
Upon arriving in New Zealand and completing his studies, Christian went into dairy farming in Canterbury.
With 10 years’ farm experience under his belt, specifically in pasture management, a focus for Cristian this month is the Autumn Pasture renewal.
“One piece of advice I would give the farmers is to make sure they select the right pasture variety,” Cristian says.
He will also be assisting farmers as they assess dry-off dates based on body condition scores (BCS), check paddocks for grass grub and extend rotation length.
For Cristian, getting out to see farmers in person is a big help in making sure he offers the right advice.
Recently, a farmer came to him concerned about weeds in his young pasture. By visiting the farm, Cristian could see the breed of weeds, and from there, recommend the right solution.
“We managed to clean more than 85 percent of the weeds, and the farmer is really happy.”
Another satisfied customer is a farmer who was inadvertently killing pasture while trying to kill rushes.
The farmer had been using glyphosate, but with the help of Paul, the Nufarm vendor rep, they learned that rushes should be sprayed with Relay Super S as it doesn’t kill pasture.
Cristian says the team at Farm Source Balclutha are experienced, friendly and always prioritising their farmer’s needs.
“There is a genuine spirit of cooperation and shared goals all around helping the customer, that makes our store better than the competitors in my opinion” Cristian says. “I love my job because the people care about me as a person and my professional growth.”
Well beyond the farm gate, you’ll find Cristian spending time with his family, playing soccer, going swimming and fishing.
“The Clutha River is the fastest flowing river in New Zealand and a good place for fishing for salmon and trout.”
Cristian is looking forward to another year getting out and helping support farmers.
“I was a dairy farmer, and I know how there can be struggles from time to time so I would like to help relieve the pressures on them.”