Jason and Sandy Herrick of Murray Creek


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2023 Finalists: Jason and Sandy Herrick of Murray Creek – Dairy

Sharemilkers Jason and Sandy Herrick are part of a water-users group that is looking after its local aquifer – however that’s not the only environmental project they are tackling.

At Murray Creek, they’re also developing wetlands and are planning to create a thriving habitat for the Bittern bird which will be a first in northern Southland.

Having a good understanding of irrigation management has been beneficial to the pair who have sharemilked at the Lumsden property for the past nine years. They have earned the trust and backing of their shareholders, with this resulting in significant investment in both operational infrastructure and environmental initiatives at the dairy farm.

There is a strong focus on water quality, including working with other users of the local aquifer – helping to ensure there’s enough high-quality water for everyone in the catchment. Sediment traps on the edge of paddocks help to keep the water clear, with this further boosted by using an irrigator that cleverly applies water and effluent separately.

Their production figures tell a story of trial and tribulations, as Jason and Sandy aim to strike a balance between producing more milk with less cows.

They currently winter 960 cows on 374ha, and milk through a sophisticated 50-bale rotary milking shed. The farm has 234ha of irrigated land and features 7.2km of fenced off waterways.

The Herricks are strong mental wellbeing advocates and have spoken publicly about the importance of farmers taking care of themselves to prevent burnout. They have shared their personal experiences nationwide, speaking to farmers through Agproud, Whatever with Wiggy and AgriConnect days.

They have entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards as a way of benchmarking their operation within the industry. They hope it will result in constructive feedback that will help guide positive decision-making into the future.

Jason and Sandy are the winners of the NZFET Innovation Award.

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