Great Farming Stories

Aidan Bichan, Neville Fisher & Vern Brasell - Kaiwaiwai Dairies

14 April 2020

Aidan Bichan, Neville Fisher & Vern Brasell - Kaiwaiwai Dairies

2020 finalists: Aidan Bichan, Neville Fisher & Vern Brasell of Kaiwaiwai Dairies - Dairy.

Demonstrating good environmental stewardship is a key focus for the team at Kaiwaiwai Dairies – a dairy farm operated as an equity partnership with six shareholders. Located in South Wairarapa, Kaiwaiwai is almost completely self-contained – a policy that provides biosecurity assurance and reduces risk around feed supplies. 

Kaiwaiwai was entered into the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because the team is keen to champion farming and to connect with others in the farming sector, government and urban centres.  

Running 900 dairy cows and 20 beef, the property was commended for its efficient water usage that is well below the industry average. This is partially due to a comprehensive irrigation system, and the close monitoring of farm water via flow meters and web-based reporting. They are almost at their target of using less than half the industry standard which is 70 litres of clean water per dairy cow per day, with further reductions planned.

A wetland development project included planting natives along banks and regenerating a kahikatea stand, plus the farm is testing fish passages and flow controls. The team actively plants native trees, has a pest management plan and has significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions. They are also successfully striving to improve energy efficiency, reduce stock drug use, improve the quality of water leaving the farm and strictly manage dairy effluent. 

The judges said Kaiwaiwai is an excellent example of how sustainability can be managed in all areas of the operation – from financial, environmental and social responsibility to great staff management practices. 

Kaiwaiwai Dairies is proud to be part of the dairy industry and the judges commented that the enthusiastic team members are fantastic ambassadors for the industry and climate change. They play a recognised leadership role in environmental stewardship, climate change discussions, employment practices and promotion of the positive aspects of food production.