Innovative and dedication sees Angus Barr and Tara Dwyer of The Wandle, Lone Star Farms take out the Regional Supreme Award at the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.


Home / News / Award News / Innovative and dedication sees Angus Barr and Tara Dwyer of The Wandle, Lone Star Farms take out the Regional Supreme Award at the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

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 this evening.

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 which is owned or leased by Lone Star Farms. This sheep and cattle, breeding and finishing operation uses a flexible cropping and re–grassing system. The 2,550ha (2,400ha effective) property features 700ha of irrigated land, along with 500ha of tussock country on the iconic Rock and Pillar Range conservation area.

They run 4,000 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.

Angus and Tara also won the following awards:

· Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award

· Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award

· Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award

· NZFET Climate Recognition Award

· Otago Regional Council Quality Water Enhancement Award

Other Otago Ballance Farm Environment Award winners include:

Mike Casey and Euan White — Forest Lodge Orchard, Cromwell

· Norwood Farming Efficiency Award

· NZFET Innovation Award

Justin Pigou, Neill Casey & Matt Hamilton — Waitepeka, Pāmu Farms, Romahapa South Otago

· DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award

Lyndon & Jade McNab — Lochindorb Run, Owaka & Warepa, Clutha

· NZFET Biodiversity Award

Tim Paulin — 3 Kings Cherries, Clyde

· Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award

Dave Sutton and Mark Naismith — Te Kano – Northburn Vineyard, Cromwell

· Hill Labs Agri-Science Award

The awards also served to showcase Otago South River Care, which is a collective of seven catchment groups in Otago’s Clutha District. It covers an area of 364,000ha and includes more than 5,000km of waterways. The group was established in 2016 with the aim of supporting farmers to understand the water quality at their properties. Their achievements include planting about 42,500 native plants – many of which they’ve grown from seed – and the restoration of about 37,700m2 of wetland areas.

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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