Regional Supreme Winners 2023: Peter, John and Karen McErlean of Poplar Partnership – Dairy and Beef
Poplar Partnership Ltd is a large, self-contained dairy farm that represents a lifetime of work and dedication by owners John, Peter and Karen McErlean.
John and Karen have come a long way since purchasing the initial 43ha block in 1983. In 2002, they formed Poplar Partnership Ltd with John’s brother, Peter, and today the total area of the family farm is 1,719ha.
The business derives its income primarily from dairy and beef farming, with this complemented by a servicing workshop and contracting.
Reflecting on the property’s development over the years, highlights include supplying A2 milk to Fonterra from 2018 and managing a stud of 80 purebred Hereford breeding cows. In addition, they utilise embryo transplant and bull breeding services, plus harvest and cultivate their own maize, hay and grass silage.
John, Peter and Karen have steadily improved the genetics of the Herefords and have also become known for the development of strong genetic lines in their Friesian cows.
When it comes to the environment, multiple wetlands have been created and extended, including significant investment in the planting of native trees.
In an innovative move to retain staff, they created another company called 164 Partnership Ltd. This is a small dairy farm with 200 cows, owned by the McErleans and eight employees.
As they look to the future, they’re keen to continue developing the wetlands plus work to protect a native giant snail colony on one of the support blocks. They’re also keen to explore the integration of vegetable crops into their farming operation as demand grows.
John and Peter are carrying on the dairy farming tradition started by their grandfather and are committed to continuing to enhance the land so it can be farmed by generations to come.
Peter, John and Karen are the winners of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award, DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award, Norwood Farming Efficiency Award, Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award and Horizons Regional Supreme Winner 2023.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards