Great Farming Stories

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James & Virginia Kilmister - Kilmister Farms Ltd

15 February 2019

James & Virginia Kilmister - Kilmister Farms Ltd

On Kilmister Farms, a strong family philosophy has been fostered by James and Virginia (Ginny) Kilmister. The Kilmisters have generously taken this loyalty into their community, investing significant time in local clubs and committees.
The Kilmisters’ roots in the area date back to 1900 when James’ great grandfather purchased the land. Today, James and Virginia farm 625ha of medium hill country and lease 200ha nearby in partnership with James’ brother. Their farm is a breeding unit with 2750 Romney ewes and 84 breeding Angus cows.

Hard-earned progress is always abound with lambing percentage up to 140%. Mixed aged ewes scan 160% with the potential of 170-180%, but James prefers to focus on meat out the gate rather than numbers on the ground.

The Kilmisters have a great understanding of the limitations of their soils, which impressed the judges. The majority of the soils are imperfectly to poorly drained, especially those mantled with loess. James manages his stock accordingly with cattle sprinkled lightly around the farm to prevent pugging and damage to tracks.
Environmentally conscious, the couple have a number of initiatives in motion to support a healthier environment that captured the judges’ attention. There is a poplar planting programme to manage erosion on the property and a number of sediment traps/dams exist to catch sediment from erodible areas. A 3ha native area has been retired and enhanced with native planting and there is another small area of native bush on the property.

With a goal to increase the equity in their property and retire at 65, good farming practices and environmental awareness are priorities for the pair as is developing a succession plan if one of the children want to carry on the Kilmister name at the property.

The Kilmisters were inspired to enter the awards after encouragement from the regional council. Of the experience having the judges on-farm they say, “We are pretty amazed how receptive, positive and encouraging they were of what we are doing and their comments back up what we have been trying to do. We have a sustainability story and are rapt at being selected because it tells us we are on the right path.”  

Awards Won 2019

Margaret Matthews Trophy for Commitment to Sustainability