14 April 2020
Geordie & Frances Eade of Granity Downs - Intensive sheep & beef.
Big picture thinking that balances business risk with sustainability is guiding the development of this Riverton sheep and beef, breeding and finishing farm. The result is sustainable productivity, achieved with a highly organised operation that puts family life first at this well-cared for property.
Geordie and Frances entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards after being encouraged by industry representatives and leaders, and through their involvement with the Pourakino Catchment Group.
Granity Downs was purchased by Geordie’s parents Tom and Betty in 2001. Geordie and Frances started leasing it from them in 2008, before buying the farm in 2011. The couple now runs 2,700 sheep and 82 beef and, with the help of Tom, have developed the farm into a reliable, high-producing unit that has good infrastructure and a beautiful outlook. The judges were impressed with the couple’s big-picture approach that balances sustainability with productivity, and their open-minded approach as development continues.
The natural beauty of Granity Downs is being carefully nurtured, including the protection of large blocks of native vegetation. There is about 29ha of native bush on the property, most of which is fenced, while there are plenty of well-developed shelter belts. A reticulated scheme supplies water to troughs in every paddock and animal pests are carefully managed. 2ha of forestry was harvested in 2017 and half of that has since been replanted.
There is a strong focus on stock and plant health at this high-output farm and these are supported by a Farm Focus Plan and Farm Environment Plan. Between eight and 10 soil tests are carried out every year, guiding the careful application of fertiliser. The judges commended the Eades for excellent systems, stockmanship and management, saying their organised operation and supporting mechanisms allow family life to be a priority.