14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Chris Irons & Debra Hastie of Te Waitere View - Sheep and beef breeding and finishing.
This couple is focused on developing a farming system that is sympathetic to their environment, while still driving profitability and debt reduction to provide future growth opportunities. The property is two farms that were merged in 2016, five years after Chris and Debra bought into one of the properties, with them now the sole owner-operators.
Te Waitere View was entered into the Ballance Farm Environment Awards as a way of benchmarking the farm against others and getting an outside perspective on its development.
The sheep and beef, breeding and finishing farm is committed to producing high-quality produce while respecting the environment - and the results are impressive. The judges commended them for breeding Angus cattle that are smaller and better suited to the ash soils, plus produce high-quality marbled meat.
Cattle are run at a low stocking rate with the sheep, and the judges were impressed with the excellent animal health and stock weights. Certified by Global Animal Partnership, the farm is audited every 15 months for such things as drenching, its farm plan and dog worming.
Located at the head of their catchment, Chris and Debra are working hard to enhance water quality. The judges praised how they are mitigating the risk of phosphate runoff and e-coli in waterways with a stock policy that suits the land’s contour, and by creating grass buffer zones in high-risk areas. There is native scrub in most gullies along with a DOC bush reserve at the back of the property, and predators are actively controlled.
Chris and Debra are focused on developing the land so it’s a good business opportunity for the next generation. The judges commended their work ethic and positivity about the future for hill country farming, saying this was reflected in the couple’s leadership in industry roles and catchment management initiatives.