Thursday, 25 April 2024 10:55

Otago's supreme winner

Written by  Staff Reporters
Angus Barr and Tara Dwyer with the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Award. Angus Barr and Tara Dwyer with the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Award.

Angus Barr and Tara Dwyer of The Wandle, Lone Star Farms in Strath Taieri have been named the Regional Supreme Winners at the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Dunedin.

Angus and Tara have been managing The Wandle since 2020 and are focused on producing quality over quantity while caring for the land. The Wandle is one of seven farms owned or leased by Lone Star Farms. This sheep and cattle, breeding and finishing operation uses a flexible cropping and re-grassing system. The 2550ha (2400ha effective) property features 700ha of irrigated land, along with 500ha of tussock country on the iconic Rock and Pillar Range conservation area.

They run 4000 ewes and 270 Angus cows, producing both premium and commodity beef and lamb, along with wool products. They are continually tweaking their farming system to balance production, premium stock, financial profit, and their environmental footprint.

Farming practices are guided by different technologies including farm management software and soil monitoring. They're actively working to earn carbon credits and reduce methane emissions. The farm's grazing policy reflects soil characteristics, and considers river flats, fragile soils and water risks with an eye to protecting them into the future.

An animal welfare lens is applied to all management decisions, ensuring the stock are happy and healthy. The judges commended the excellent farm infrastructure, including a quality stock water reticulation system that features at least one trough in each paddock and innovative culvert installations to keep stock and vehicles out of waterways.

Angus and Tara are also striving to improve the protection of the property's native habitats, with the judges observing that having 80% of waterways already fenced and a large riparian planting programme along the riparian setbacks is an amazing legacy of this property.

In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted that Angus and Tara are hard workers, innovative and make a formidable farm management team.

“What they have achieved with their farm team in a short period is worthy of celebration,” they said. “They also show exceptional people management, encouraging their team to be part of the business and the wider community, and have a combined desire to improve the farm’s performance and enhance biodiversity, treating the farm as if it was their own.”

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