Canterbury Regional Supreme Winner 2023: Ian Knowles of Glenmark Springs


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Regional Supreme Winner 2023: Ian Knowles of Glenmark Springs – Sheep and Dairy Support

This Waipara farm is a great example of continually gathering data and information about the property and implementing strategies, practices, pasture, and livestock to fit the business.

Ian Knowles is gradually purchasing Glenmark Springs from Ian’s family trust, aiming to strike a balance between profitability and lifestyle.

The 822ha (790ha effective) property is predominately a sheep breeding and finishing operation, with about 30% of its income derived from dairy support. His strategy is to operate a low-cost business with a high stocking rate.

He runs 4,000 composite ewes and 1,000 hoggets’, along with 350 dairy cows. As a side interest he also has a diverse selection of other animals, including alpacas, ostriches, peacocks, deer, turkeys, partridges, and quail – all well adapted to the Waipara climate.

Ian started leasing and buying into the farm in 2015 and since then he has invested significantly to increase the farm’s efficiency and profitability.

Development is guided by research and on-farm trials, resulting in big changes to the farm’s infrastructure, stocking rate and performance. There’s a focus on increasing production while reducing the farm’s environmental footprint – all through simple systems that enable Ian to manage the farm efficiently.

Stock are carefully bred for specific genetic traits, while winter feeding is closely managed, soils are well cared for and nutrient use is tailored to seasons and soil and pasture requirements.

Numerous trees have been planted, providing stock shade and shelter plus enhancing biodiversity and carbon sequestration. The area’s microclimate has been harnessed by planting a fruit orchard with about 15 different varieties.

To reduce erosion, boost shade and protect waterways, 3,000 poplar poles have been planted, while about 2km of shelterbelts have been established. Waterways are being fenced and riparian planting is underway, supported by the active control of pests.

Ian sees the farm as special and enjoys sharing its space and produce with visitors and friends alike.

Ian is the winner of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award, Norwood Farming Efficiency Award, NZFET Climate Recognition Award and Canterbury Regional Supreme Winner 2023.

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