Justin Pigou and Matt Hamilton of Landsdown Dairy Unit – Pāmu


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2023 Finalists: Justin Pigou and Matt Hamilton of Landsdown Dairy Unit – Pāmu – Dairy

Careful strategic planning that balances productivity, profitability and the environment means that Landsdown Dairy Unit is a well-run farm that will be sustainable into the future.

Part of Pāmu, Landsdown is a spring calving operation that winters about 680 cows under the direction of business manager Justin Pigou and farm manager Matthew Hamilton.
Spanning a total area of 312ha (259ha effective), Landsdown was formed in the early 2000s, with Justin joining in 2016.

The dairy system has been adapted over time to suit the landscape, including the reduction of intensive winter grazing. A composting barn is used as a calving facility, to winter cows and store feed – ultimately reducing soil and pasture damage during cold months, and helping to improve animal health and welfare.

Animals are well managed, with reproduction results in line with industry targets. Body condition score targets are being easily met by animals using the barn over winter.

The farm leans on technology and recording systems to improve performance, while soil quality is carefully managed. Soil fertility is tested in each paddock every three years, fertiliser carefully applied and the stocking rate has been reduced over the past six years.

Building on the legacy of previous managers, the environment is put first, with all waterways fenced, and well-established trees providing shelter and protecting waterways.

Landsdown has a positive staff culture that includes plenty of connection with the wider community. Staff are involved with local catchment groups, schools and the Department of Conservation (DoC). Joint initiatives include trialling new technology on the farm, and working with DoC to enhance the breeding sites of giant kōkopu.

To ensure a prosperous and sustainable future, the team is taking lots of small steps to help Landsdown adapt to climate change. This includes initiatives that aim to reduce the property’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Justin and Matt are the winners of the Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award, DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award, and Norwood Farming Efficiency Award.


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