14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Grant and Danielle Petterd of Prospark Farm - Dairy.
The attractive vistas across this 277 hectare block at Waimate North reflect the passion Grant and Danielle have for the property they manage, and for farming itself.
Lower order sharemilking for an equity partnership in Northstar Dairies Ltd, they consistently achieve production targets above the district average for both milk solids per cow and per hectare.
At the same time, the couple have worked hard to build an indepth knowledge of their land, from the soil and pasture, to water and drainage.
This expertise, combined with some clever technology, has allowed Grant and Danielle to achieve optimum productivity through innovative stock rotations and paddock selection.
In addition, the pair are working towards all supplement crops being grown on the farm from next season. This will increase their self-sufficiency and help them better adapt to seasonal dry spells. Chicory in the summer and maize in the winter have been identified as the best crops for increasing dry matter on the property.
The pair is passionate about improving the dairy herd’s genetics, which is evident through their involvement in the sire proving and DNA of all young stock. They use a local grazing scheme as part of the farm’s strategic planning, guaranteeing them 100 percent weight gain for heifers.
Working with local organisations, Grant and Danielle have poured a great deal of energy into fencing all the waterways on the farm, including the Waiaruheiti Stream, plus the large dams and ponds. This commitment to environmental sustainability and biodiversity also saw the couple retiring a number of unproductive wet areas last season, now fenced off and ready for planting into wetlands.
To encourage Kiwi and other native birdlife, Grant and Danielle actively trap stoats and rats - with possums the next target.
Grant and Danielle happily share their love of farming with the local community, regularly hosting the public, schools and pre-schools. Off the farm, the couple are heavily involved in the local community, with a wide range of community and farming organisations and groups, and continue to actively work to bridge the rural urban divide.