Friday, 12 April 2024 09:13

Millers scoop Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
From Left: Andrew & Rachel Miller, Jocelyn & Jason Miller, Chris Henderson (contract milker), and Eleanor & Quentin Miller. From Left: Andrew & Rachel Miller, Jocelyn & Jason Miller, Chris Henderson (contract milker), and Eleanor & Quentin Miller.

Financial and environmental stewardship has helped the Miller family of Roslyn Downs take out the Regional Supreme Award at the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The 1,034ha dairy, sheep and beef operation is led by brothers Jason and Quentin Miller, along with Jason’s son Andrew. The original 149ha farm has been in the Miller family since 1960, with the dairy farm added to the operation when Andrew and his wife Rachel joined the business in 2019.

Roslyn Downs is predominately sheep farming with a focus on achieving high levels of production efficiency. Along with running an average of 4,000 ewes, it hosts a stud sheep-breeding programme and provides dairy support for the dairy farm – Claymore Dairies.

At Claymore, the team is striving toward a five-year target of achieving 500kgMS/cow. The judges were impressed with the overall health of the cows and how the Millers have increased in-calf rate gains over a short period of time.

The use of independent consultants is crucial to helping the team achieve strategic outcomes. Since 2020, they’ve tripled business revenue and doubled their asset base.

Over the years the Millers have significantly increased native species and planting across the property, adding new areas and connecting and enhancing existing sites. By fencing off large areas for retirement and amenity planting and creating several wetlands and sediment traps, they have actively contributed to biodiversity preservation.

In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted that the Millers have created a thriving ecosystem that supports native species and reduces erosion through careful consideration of environmental mitigations. They also commended the Miller’s data-driven approach to farming, observing that it enables them to make informed decisions that enhance both environmental stewardship and profitability.

“The use of sound science, monitoring and measurement, alongside an in-depth understanding of the physical landscape, its attributes and limitations has led to careful consideration when implementing and adapting management practices. As a result, outstanding outcomes in both production and the environment have been achieved across the property.”

The Millers also won the following awards:

  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
  • Hill Labs Agri-Science Award
  • Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award
  • NZFET Innovation Award
  • Environment Southland Water Quality and Biodiversity Award

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