Great Farming Stories

Michael & Susie Woodward of Woodward Farms

29 April 2021

Michael & Susie Woodward of Woodward Farms

2021 Finalists: Michael and Susie Woodward of Woodward Farms - Dairy and Goat

A move from farm management in Canterbury to landownership in the Otorohanga district saw Michael and Susie Woodwood create Woodward farms in 2009 and purchase Cowgora Hills in June 2019, a 170 Ha property where they run a mix of dairy and angora goats. 

A desire to have the freedom to operate and invest in areas that aligned with their values as well as an opportunity to create a legacy to pass on to future generations, including their four young children, provided the motivation for the change which presented a lot of differences for the Woodward’s to adapt to. 

This change in location required the Woodward’s to quickly adapt from an irrigated flat, large herd and staff to once a day, non irrigated rolling hill country with no staff. Running 300 Dairy, 8 Beef and 260 Angora goats, the Woodwards have demonstrated that they are good problem solvers who are implementing a long term planting biodiversity and environment plan and have achieved their goal of farm ownership all while raising their four children. 

They entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to find ways to better what they do on their farm, especially with the experiences a new climate brings and to further their sustainability journey towards best practice as well as showcase what is possible for other dairy farms. 

Judges Comments 

· Have adapted well and made an excellent transition to their new community and farming venture with firm business and family goals. 

· Excellent record keeping and use of technology allows them to make informed decisions for herd management, production and future planning. 

· They have recognised the limitations and opportunities of their property using their good problem solving skills to take the advantages of a mixed farming venture. 

· Hard work and a thirst for making things happen has seen some excellent production and results are very encouraging.

Michael and Susi Woodrwad were winners of the Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award and Norwood Agri-Business Management Award