2023 Finalists: Mark and Emilie Muir, George Flavell and Jenny Hinton of MG Muir Ltd – Dairy Support
At dairy support operation MG Muir Ltd, farming practices have been adapted to ensure conservation of the property’s cultural and biodiversity sites.
Owner Mark Muir is focused on protecting the natural environment, as well as the sites of an historic Māori pa and village. He’s doing this by building on the environmental groundwork laid by former owner Jenny Hinton, and by working closely with Ngāti Te Ata kaumātua George Flavell.
Sustainability highlights include the permanent exclusion of stock from waterways and tailoring farming practices to match the different soil types – helping the soil to retain its integrity, and reducing erosion.
Low stocking rates and switching to being solely dairy support has reduced the farm’s environmental impact and enhanced animal welfare at the low-input property. One of the reasons Mark switched to being dairy support was because heifers are lighter and have less impact on the land – enabling them to safely graze hillsides. The heifers are kept on steeper, coastal parts of the property during winter which helps pasture to regenerate and reduces the risk of erosion.
Mark is committed to protecting the property’s unique features that include Rotopotaka lake, a natural spring and adjacent cultural heritage site. To prevent stock contaminating and eroding the edges of the lake, he has completely fenced it – on both his and the neighbour’s land. On his side of the lake, the site has been well preserved for more than 20 years, thank to Jenny’s earlier work.
Mark’s sustainable approach touches all aspects of the farm. The cottage and water pumps are powered by solar, backed by good recycling practises and active pest management. Mark shares his environmental knowledge with the community by helping to protect other local lakes and supporting the growth of seedlings for native restoration.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards