2022 Finalist: Matt and Kate McLaren of Camp-Hill Farming – Sheep and Dairy support
Getting basic pasture and nutrient management right is paying off for the couple behind Wyndham’s Camp-Hill Farming, a 570ha sheep and dairy support farm.
Matt and Kate McLaren established Camp-Hill Farming in 2016, although Matt’s great-great-grandfather bought the original Camp-Hill property in 1870, making Matt a fifth-generation farmer of the land.
The McLarens last season mated 3,600 ewes and 1,000 hoggets, plus grazed 280 dairy heifers and finished trading cattle and lambs. The business gets about 75% of its income from sheep and about 20% from heifer grazing, with the balance split between such things as wool, rental and beef. They have been consistently lambing at about 150%.
The McLarens have carried out an extensive fencing programme to subdivide paddocks and protect waterways, making management easier. Native riparian borders have been planted along creeks, plus a large area fronting the Mimihau river has been transformed with native plantings – creating a haven for wildlife and recreation.
Clearly defined goals, careful planning and dedication has enabled them to convert a new block into a productive, tidy, well-performing part of the overall farm in a short space of time. Meanwhile, a strong focus on basic pasture and nutrient management has resulted in improved pasture growth and animal health, plus boosted crop yields.
Innovation influences their farming approach – for example Matt and his father designed and built a portable bridge that helps connect two of the properties, protecting both stock and waterways. Matt has also ingeniously improved an automatic lamb feeder so it’s easier to use.
Camp-Hill Farming was a pathway from the dairy industry and into family farm ownership. The McLarens love the variety of work and having the opportunity to raise their three children on the farm – plus pass on their knowledge, skills and sense of stewardship.
Matthew and Kate were winners of Norwood Agri-Business Management Award
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