On-farm trials help create solutions for New Zealand agriculture

On-farm trials help create solutions for New Zealand agriculture

1 August 2022

The winners of the 2022 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award are passionate about the New Zealand dairy industry.

The Craigmore Farming Group was humbled to win the award. Agri Relationship Partner Caroline Aymes says receiving the award at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards national gala dinner was a great recognition of the awesome work their farming leaders and teams are doing every day. "It shows we are on the right track," she says.

"It's a reflection on the passion and skill of the farmers in our team, as well as the Craigmore farming group. Our goal is to help create solutions that will continue to set us up for a positive future."

Craigmore Farming Services comprises 22 dairy farms and one sheep and beef property, from Culverden down to Middlemarch, with a high-empowerment management model and employees that enjoy a high level of trust.

"We understand every farm has its own personality and system, made up of its topography, climate, infrastructure, soils and so on," Caroline says. "Each individual also has their own personality, interests and system, and where the two cross over is the sweet spot for performance."

Supported by a performance committee that provides coaching and support, each farming leader identifies their passions and interests, which are then used in controlled on-farm trials for new initiatives and technologies.

"Our size allows us to wear this risk," Caroline says. "Our aim is to share our learnings from each trial, helping to create solutions for NZ agriculture."

Current trials include off-crop winter grazing with deferred pasture, round bales and self-feeding stacks, Halter cow management system, SmaxTec in rumen animal health monitoring bolus, biological stimulants for soil health, stream health assessments, biodiversity planting, people 360 review process, soil carbon monitoring and community planting projects.

To capture all the data in the trials and initiatives, Craigmore is developing a Social Licence to Farm programme, which focuses on seven pillars: Greenhouse gas emissions, water, soil, biodiversity, animals, people and community, and business.

"Under each pillar we have long-term goals and key objectives we are working towards, and each of these trials is helping us work towards achieving these longterm targets," Caroline says.

For Craigmore, responsible dairying means helping create solutions for the future of the NZ dairy industry through highly engaged and talented teams with the space and support to meet their personal, career and life goals.

"It means having thriving and stable communities, healthy eco-systems and positive environmental outcomes with happy and healthy cows, in financially viable and sustainable businesses that create a return for our investors and shareholders," Caroline says. "The awards programme does an exceptional job of recognising and developing our future leaders. We'd also like to recognise the great work the other two finalists are doing. We are proud to be supporters of the Canterbury region and now winners of this award."

For more information on the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, visit dairyindustryawards.co.nz.