15 February 2019
Ngāi Tahu Farming - Dairy Support was established in 2017 to support the eight Ngāi Tahu dairy farms based at Te Whenua Hou (Eyrewell Forest).
This support is provided by managing the performance of the heifers - R1, R2, carryover cows - and through growing feed for other parts of the dairy enterprise. Additionally, the dairy support unit makes silage off a grass base of 700ha.
Also responsible for supplement feed production - in winter and dairy seasons - the unit meets this requirement with a barley catch crop that generates grain for in-shed feed as well as barley straw, which is used as a winter feed.
The central idea underpinning the unit’s existence is to produce sustainable products from the environment in a way that aligns with Ngāi Tahu values. To achieve this, the unit must contribute to achieving Ngāi Tahu aspirations such as upholding the tribe’s role as a kaitiaki (custodian) of the environment, creating employment opportunities for Ngāi Tahu people, and by running a
The team works hard under the leadership of Quinten Green and Piripi Perry-Smith to get the best of the relatively young soils and works on a rapid pasture renewal system. Soil testing is undertaken with agronomic specialists who help to identify areas where soil conditions can be improved.
A wildlife corridor landscape plan was developed with Lincoln University and natives on the farm come from Ngāi Tahu nursery, Te Whenua Hou. Like the environment, stock are cared for and raised with great respect, and the approach to treating stock like dairy cows, not beef cows, has resulted in less stress and better milk let-down.
With a robust and integrated system in place, the scene is set for an ambitious and supportive work environment, a positive achievement observed by the judges. Deep cultural custodianship and awareness among the staff protects and enhances the iwi’s values.
Of entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Quinten says, “It can be easy to stick your head in the sand, but Piripi and our whole team are open to constructive feedback, and as a company we are open. We are in a massively changing world and what we are trying to do to protect our environment is unique. We want to share our knowledge.”
Waterforce Integrated Management Award