Justin Pigou, Neill Casey & Matt Hamilton of Waitepeka, Pāmu Farms


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2024 Otago Finalists: Justin Pigou, Neill Casey & Matt Hamilton of Waitepeka, Pāmu Farms – Dairy and Beef

The team at Waitepeka Dairy Complex are consistently thinking ahead and planning for a sustainable future – adapting practices that enhance environment, animals and people.  
The 888ha (730 ha effective) self-contained dairy farm is owned by Pāmu Farms of New Zealand. Located near Balclutha, it’s comprised of two dairy farms – Landsdown and Dunns – and Waitepeka dairy support farm. Justin Pigou is the overarching business manager, while Neill Casey manages Dunns and Matt Hamilton is in charge of Landsdown. 
The whole management team is highly conscious of the need to continually adapt practices to enhance the environment, soil, animals, and the lives of their staff which is comprised of eight fulltimers plus casuals. 
The team milks 1,377 cows on the dairy units, while the support farm is used for calf-rearing, providing supplement and winter feed, and grazing for heifer replacements. 
Technology is used for research and to monitor many aspects of the operation, particularly in relation to animal husbandry, herd performance and feed budgeting. 
The judges were impressed with how the team trials new ideas and explores innovative solutions as part of their planning for a sustainable future. For example, the farm features cow barns, alternative crops, extensive pest and predator control, a poplar willow nursery and modern feed pads.  
In addition, the judges commended the team’s long-term commitment to biodiversity, including the ongoing fencing of sensitive and wetland areas. The exclusion of stock around waterways is boosting water quality and minimising sediment loss. 
The team’s extensive environmental focus has resulted in strong connections with the community, including local catchment groups and schools. They’ve also partnered with the Department of Conservation to help develop riparian plantings. 
Justin, Neill and Matt see themselves as long-term custodians of the land and ultimately hope their sustainable, coordinated approach will provide leadership to others in the industry.   

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