Jeremy and Laura Watson of Monowai Station


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2024 East Coast Finalists: Jeremy and Laura Watson of Monowai Station – Sheep and Beef

Jeremy and Laura Watson are building on an extensive family legacy to ensure Monowai Station is striking a balance between business performance and conservation. 
The 735ha (578ha effective) Gisborne sheep and beef farm is being managed in a way that shifts and grows to meet the market and consumers.   
Laura is the fourth generation of the Savage family to farm Monowai Station which was purchased by her great-grandfather in 1926. Today, she and Jeremy operate a breeding and finishing operation, along with a terminal ram stud.  
A key to their success is keeping up with regulation and policies, efficiently adapting as needed. They’re also focused on improving pasture quality, while protecting the fragile soils through careful erosion control, conscious stock management and reducing inputs.  
They run 1,450 ewes and an Angus-based cow herd of 185, with sires carefully selected for genetic and composition gains. The ewe flock is efficient and productive, meaning Jeremy and Laura have been able to sustainably reduce numbers and inputs over time – ultimately reducing the station’s emissions. 
The judges were impressed with their excellent long-term planning, including a focus on keeping the farming system simple. At the same time, they are open to exploring new approaches to ensuring practices are tailored to the land. 
Their connection with the local catchment group has enabled them to dive into environmental projects, building on the conservation work of the generations before them. This includes tree planting in erosion-prone areas, allowing gullies to regenerate into native bush and carrying out extensive predator control. To date, they’ve restored four wetlands, fenced more than 5km of waterways and wetlands, and planted 30,000 native trees. 
Being the caretakers of a multi-generational farm is important to this couple. Just as the environment was enhanced by family members before them, Jeremy and Laura are committed to building on that work to continue improving the property for future generations to enjoy and profit from.  

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