2023 Finalists: Stuart & Beatrice Spall and Jim & Christine Spall of Poporangi Farm – Sheep, Beef and Goats
Stuart Spall grew up on Poporangi Farm which gives him a strong sense of responsibility as he and wife Beatrice gradually take over its ownership and management.
Stuart’s parents Jim and Christine Spall bought Poporangi Farm in 1992, with Stuart and Jim now sharing management and operational roles at the sheep and beef farm.
The Hawke’s Bay property spans 477ha, 387ha of which is used for grazing, 20ha for farm forestry and 70ha is covered in regenerating bush.
The Spalls run 1,750 ewes and 625 replacement ewe hoggets across the property – producing about 3,350 lambs each year. In addition, they run about 440 Friesian bulls and a 90-strong flock of Angora Goats.
Stuart returned to Poporangi Farm in 2018 after completing an agricultural science degree at university. As he and Beatrice gradually take over its ownership and management, Stuart is the lead farm manager, with Jim providing valuable support.
Stuart’s 30-year connection to the farm gives him a deep understanding of how the environment is impacted by how the land is managed and developed. He takes this role seriously and places a lot of importance on tailoring the property’s plants and pasture so they more closely match the changing environment and climate.
Improving water quality is a focus, with many dams fenced off and planted in natives. Where reticulated, this has improved water quality, while other dams are used to retain sediment.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon are other priorities, along with business planning and caring for the health of animals.
Stuart has a particular interest in the potential of using genetics to improve areas of the business, including its finances, production and the management of pests and disease. He’s also keen to use genetics in ways that positively impact the environment, including helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards