Mike & Kirsty Bodle of Braintra Farms


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2024 Southland Finalists: Mike & Kirsty Bodle of Braintra Farms – Dairy

The couple behind this Hokonui dairy farm is seeing their vision become a reality, driving increasing performance while creating an environment that is rich in biodiversity.   
Braintra Farms is a 439ha (389ha effective) property that runs 700 cows plus supplies calves to local buyers.  
Mike and Kirsty Bodle’s overarching goal is to achieve sustainable, consistent milk production, while also creating a business that nurtures the personal growth of themselves, staff and other motivated young farmers. 
The judges were impressed with Braintra’s integration of dairy farming, forestation, biodiversity and vision for eco-tourism. 
When it comes to the farming operation, the team is open to trying new things and bases land-use decisions on a deep knowledge of soil and land class. They intentionally run mobs of 70 to 80 cows on crops to limit pasture and soil damage, while also caring for stock.  
The judges noted that the Bodles Wagyu beef programme was a practical and sustainable way to diversify income without impacting production. They were also impressed with how water quality is carefully managed through the use of sediment traps, buffer zones, fencing and plantings. 
Kirsty and Mike’s vision to create a beautiful, carbon-neutral environment is equal to the effort put into the farming business.  
Shortly after purchasing the property, they started controlling gorse in its steep gullies. They opted to plant the areas in trees – a sustainable approach that has enhanced the natural environment and reflects their love of landscaping. Their vision means that one of the most challenging areas is now a peaceful, private oasis featuring waterfalls and wetlands. 
A key to the farm’s success is a sustainable business model that is centred around empowering staff to give them a sense of ownership. The Bodles have created a positive family farm environment that is well placed to succeed into the future.

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