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Southland BFEA Regional Supreme Winners Announced

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

The Miller family of Roslyn Downs in Glencoe has been named the Regional Supreme Winner at the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Invercargill this evening.

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 500kg of milk solids per 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.

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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

Other Southland Ballance Farm Environment Award winners include:

Mike and Kirsty Bodle — Braintra Farms, Hokonui

  • DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award
  • NZFET Biodiversity Award
  • NZFET Climate Recognition Award

Tracey and Steve Henderson — Legendaries, Awarua

  • Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award

James and Tanya Goodwin — Kelvin Grove, Waimumu

  • Norwood Farming Efficiency Award

Philip and Katherine McCallum — Rockley Farm, Belfour

  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award

The awards also served to showcase the Greater Dipton Catchment Group. Farmer led and community driven, the Greater Dipton Catchment Group is spear heading a project that is focused on helping both rural and urban dwellers offset carbon emissions. Established in 2020, the group initially ran a series of community initiatives to identify the most pressing environmental issues, ultimately leading to the launch of Carbon Neutral Dipton. Supported by funding from Thriving Southland, Carbon Neutral Dipton is focused on exploring different ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on farms and in the wider community.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are run by the NZ Farm Environment Trust and champion sustainable farming and growing. The Supreme Winner from each of the eleven regions involved in the awards will go through to be considered for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the Trust’s National Showcase in Hamilton in June. The recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy then become 2024’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing.

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