Soil Foodweb

New Zealand

Soil Foodweb NZ are the foremost soil testing laboratory for micro-biology.  Much of what we base farm production on relates directly to the soil microbes.  Knowing what levels of soil biota exist in our soil and how active they are allows farmers and gowers to optimise their production systems.

In January 2003 at Dr Elaine Inghams invitation Cherryle’s training was completed at the Soil Foodweb Labs in Lismore, Australia and Covallis, USA after which she opened the NZ laboratory.

Since its inception in 2003, Soil Foodweb Institute NZ (SFI NZ) has been working with 10’s of thousands of agriculture and horticultural growers throughout both islands of New Zealand to help them improve the health and productivity of their soils.  The laboratory now operates out of Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury in the South Island.

Understanding how the microbes effect soil health and plant production requires a detailed knowledge on what organisms exist in the soil;

  • How many of them are active and doing the job
  • How well their actions are cycling nutrients
  • If the balance between fungi and bacteria are suitable for the crop
  • Their trend of growth ie more bacterial or more fungal

At Soil Foodweb NZ, the team are able to assess soil, compost, vermicast and various other biological products for fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and mycorrhiza. Armed with this information you are then able to confidently decide on the right management tools and weigh up how effective they are over ensuing years. Working with many input suppliers and consultants we are able to adapt the farmers existing nutrient programs to facilitate a smooth transition from ‘mineral-only’ replacement to biological production/regenerative farming.

Since its launch, Soil Foodweb NZ has been working with tens of thousands of agriculture and horticultural growers throughout both islands of New Zealand to help them improve the health and productivity of their soils.

Soil Foodweb NZ Cherryle Prew

Cherryle Prew


About the Founder

Cherryle Prew, Founder of Soil Foodweb NZ, has been working in the industry since 1991 when she bought and began operating a Certified Organic Kiwifruit Orchard in Te Puke. Prior to opening the New Zealand Lab she had worked as consultant for an organic packhouse and spent 3 years as an Organic Systems Auditor for SGG and Bio-Gro NZ.

About the Owners

Viv & Phil Gray, owner/operators of Soil Foodweb NZ since August 2021, have been following biological farming principles with organic certification for over 20 years on their sheep & beef property in Waiau, (upper South Island).

Having trained in Holistic management in 1998 and experienced success in planned grazing management, Phil has been involved in mentoring farmers transitioning to more sustainable farming systems. He has been a soil consultant for the last 15 years using the Albrecht soil fertility system and recognises the importance of promoting the soil’s biological processes.

Being a nurse and working with the land, Viv has realised the effects many modern practices have on human health. She has a passion researching where good food is sourced and how it is produced.
Both Viv and Phil have a keen interest in all facets of growing systems.

Soil Foodweb NZ Cherryle Prew

Viv & Phil Gray


“Just wanted to get in touch to say thank you very much indeed for the two field workshops you ran for us and Avoca last week. It was lovely to finally meet you. I very much enjoyed your presentation and again added to my knowledge about things biological farming. I particularly appreciated your clear explanation of the bacteria/fungi ratios in various soils & what that indicates, and therefore how to remedy problems.”

Bev Trowbridge

Muriwai Valley Farm

Contact us today

Soil Foodweb New Zealand are soil rehabilitation specialists working with the New Zealand biological farming industry since 2003.