2022 Finalist: Amanda Currie and Jason Sutherland of Tinwald Farm – Sheep, Beef and Viticulture
A willingness to try new ideas has transformed this Cromwell property from a conventional sheep and beef farm to the highly diverse business it is today.
Amanda and Adrian Currie purchased Tinwald Farm in 2012, immediately investing in irrigation, fencing and infrastructure for the beef finishing and sheep grazing farm. In 2015, they planted two vineyards across 20ha.
After being hit hard by mycoplasma bovis in 2018, Amanda and farm manager Jason Sutherland questioned the farm’s historically conventional approach and pivoted to create a more diverse operation centred around protecting soil health.
They run about 200 cattle and lamb 3,000 ewes. They have invested in a milking shed and cheesery, and this season about 100 ewes will be milked for cheese production. In addition, they sell the eggs of 100 free range chickens and are trialing a small pig operation. The vineyards produce Pinot Noir grapes for supply, although they’re starting to make their own wine.
Amanda and Jason have made numerous changes to protect their biggest asset – the soil. They have upskilled in soil biology and take a science-led approach to improve soil ecology and performance.
Sustainability is a key focus. All new buildings have solar panels that generate power for the farm, effluent is combined with humic acid and sprayed on crops, and the waste product of cheesemaking – whey – will supplement feed for pigs.
Tinwald Farm has partnered with Otago Polytechnic to provide educational experiences for students. Amanda and Jason provide a varied learning environment focused on working with natural processes to keep soil healthy.
Transforming Tinwald Farm has been challenging, however seeing how changes have positively affected the farm fills Amanda and Jason with hope for the future of sustainable farming.
Amanda Currie and Jason Sutherland were winners of the Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards