2022 Finalists: Matt & Claire Smith (Managers) with Boyd Macdonald (GM Lone Star Farms) of Caberfeidh – Sheep and Beef
At 5,300ha and located in South Canterbury’s stunning Hakataramea Valley, Caberfeidh is a highly productive sheep and beef farm guided by an environmental compass.
While environmental factors are always integral to decision making, managers Matt and Claire Smith have been focused on the productive and people part of the business since taking over four years ago. That emphasis has now shifted to enhancing the environment, with numerous activities underway.
Part of the Lone Star Farms stable, Caberfeidh is a large-scale breeding and finishing property that winters about 30,000 stock units comprised of 65% sheep and 35% cattle. Their over-riding goal is to create a consistently high-quality product for customers through the Lumina programme for lamb, and their beef finishing.
Improving pasture quality is a key focus and, as part of this, the Smiths are fencing off waterways and have removed some paddocks from cattle grazing. They’re also investigating different crop mixes which will help with soil biology and conservation.
The property relies heavily on irrigation, meaning water quality is critical. To help manage this precious resource, Caberfeidh regularly monitors water quality through four water testing sites.
The Smiths have been focused on building a great team that people want to be a part of. They have 14 employees and feel that Caberfeidh is a place where young people can grow within the business and progress their farming careers in a supportive environment.
Numerous trees are being planted across the property, including along waterways, to provide stock shelter, enhance the property’s beauty, and as a way of creating bee and bird corridors. This is in addition to the native vegetation retained on the hill country and in gullies. Further work is starting to enhance wetland areas.
The Smiths entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because they see it as a way to benchmark their performance while learning more about the industry.
Matt, Claire and Boyd are the winners of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, Massey University Innovation Award and WaterForce Wise with Water Award.
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