Regional Supreme Winners 2023: Steven and Kellie Nichol of Auldamor Ltd – Sheep and Beef
The owners of Auldamor, Steven and Kellie Nichol, are evolving their farming business though diversification and adapting production systems, all while considering environmental impact.
The 1,498ha property is located at Clarks Junction, Otago. The Nichol family has been farming in the area since 1871, meaning they have a strong connection to the land and consider improvements and guardianship a priority.
In 2007, Steven leased 976ha from his parents and purchased it outright in 2010. In 2019, the farming operation was extended with an additional 522ha neighbouring lease block. During his tenure, Steven has continually strived to improve, develop, expand and adapt the farming business.
Managed by Grant Bezett, Auldamor is primarily a sheep breeding and finishing operation, with additional cattle grazing, and carbon and production forestry.
The team runs 4,500 ewes, 1,500 hoggets and 80 rams, while each year they graze an average of 290 mixed-age beef cows. Stock performance and profitability has been continually improved by adapting farming systems and emphasising on-farm measuring and monitoring.
Stocking rates have been reduced to better reflect the land’s capability which has in turn reduced the impact on native remnant vegetation.
Steven has focused on improving the farm’s subdivision and infrastructure, plus has converted to dryland pastures that better suit the environment. Several other initiatives have been implemented to improve soil health, including a no-till drilling programme. This has led to improved pasture resilience, better yields, and improved stock performance and animal health.
The property’s biodiversity has been enhanced through the planting of shelterbelts and forestry stands, along with significant fencing of native shrubland and waterways.
Steven is extensively involved with the local community catchment group and is one of several local farmers participating in a greenhouse gas mitigation project that is primarily focused on reducing gross methane emissions.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards