14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Joanna & Simon Davies of Toko - Sheep & beef breeding & finishing.
This family farm’s success is built on a foundation of teamwork – reflected in the financial, strategic and environmental progress the Davies have made since taking over. Their passion for the environment is evident in both the property’s presentation and development.
Simon and Joanna entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to showcase their good farming practices plus get advice on how they can improve further.
As part of a succession plan, the couple took over the day-to-day operations of the sheep and beef farm in 2011, sharing 50% ownership with Simon’s parents. A pine plantation complements the property’s main business of grazing dairy heifers, lamb breeding and finishing, and beef breeding.
The judges praised the Davies’ sensible and considered business decisions that are based on clear goals and strategic financial management. Significant improvements to infrastructure have lifted animal welfare – for example the installation of a sophisticated water reticulation system that includes troughs in most paddocks. Also the development of extensive shelter belts that has involved planting about 15,000 pine trees. In addition, fertiliser application is closely monitored, and pest animals and weeds are actively controlled.
A wide range of native birds – including New Zealand falcons – are thriving on the property thanks to a strong commitment to biodiversity. The judges were impressed with the Davies’ awareness of their environment and how they share environmental projects with the local community. About 500 flaxes have been planted for shelter, along with 350 native shrubs along the banks of the Tokomairiro River as community fundraiser. Stock are carefully excluded from sections of the farm, including large areas of native bush.
The judges commended the great presentation of Toko Farms – from the front gate to its far corners – a reflection of the couple’s pride in a farm they see as their forever property.