14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Rob Dick of Easterbo - Hogget grazing.
This highly productive hogget grazing operation is set up in a way that provides owner-operator Rob with excellent work-life balance. He has been farming Easterbo since 2008 and is committed to working with the right people to implement sustainable farming methods on the East Taratahi property.
He entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to help drive his goals around making the farm a better place for the future.
Rob grazes 2,100 hoggets, 1,400 hogget lambs and 600 ewes on a range of grain, summer rape, red clover and plantain, using a no-tillage, cross slot-drill for cropping and re-grassing. He has a strong focus on soil, land and grazing management, plus understanding the climate he farms in. The judges commended Rob for his highly productive approach that does not compromise the environment.
To reduce environmental impact, Rob has put in about 8,000 riparian plants, and all non-productive land is planted in native trees – reflecting a huge passion. When he bought the property, there was not a tree on it and the judges were impressed with how he has clearly prioritised the retirement and planting of land.
In addition, he has fenced off waterways, installed culverts and pulled out willow trees on this immaculate property that features good signage. Herbs are grown to help reduce nitrogen levels and the use of fertiliser is carefully managed. All paddocks have troughs and a waste management system is in place.
Rob’s clever, careful approach to farming means he has set up a system that frees up time for outstanding levels of community involvement. This admirable work-life balance means he can give back to his community through volunteer work.
Rob understands his weaknesses as he strives to farm sustainably, regularly seeking support and retraining on different aspects of farming as he goes.