2022 Finalist: Tim & Anna and Brent & Bridget Craig of Bowalley Free Range – Poultry and Arable
Production is cracking along at this North Otago free range chicken farm as the family behind it takes a sustainable, circular approach to egg production.
Brent Craig is the third generation of his family to own and operate Bowalley Free Range and today he does this with his children Anna and Tim.
Bowalley is a free-range egg laying farm that also has a 420ha arable farm which grows wheat and barley to feed the hens. Egg sales make up about 95% of their income, with the balance coming from selling grain when they have more than the chickens need.
Minimising waste and creating efficiencies in their circular system is important for sustainability of the farm. Chicken manure is applied to the arable land, proving a natural base fertiliser, while solar panels power the hen houses. Flock management has improved thanks to modern technology that provides constant updates throughout the day on such things as average temperature, and the consumption of feed and water.
A key pillar of their marketing strategy is to give consumers a birds-eye view of the happy chooks as they freely wander the land. Consumers can access a live video stream which builds confidence in Bowalley’s paddock-to-plate story.
Often the chickens are wandering alongside sheep which graze the pasture and keep it fresh for their feathered friends. Sheep also graze cereal re-growth on the arable farm to reduce the need for cultivation and sprays.
Bowalley is both a livelihood and lifestyle choice for the Craigs. Like those before them, Tim and Anna have grown up on the farm, learning unique life skills which are both challenging and rewarding. Each family member has a role that matches their individual strengths. This builds on the skills of other staff, resulting in a strong, resilient team.
Tim & Anna and Brent & Bridget were the winners of Massy University Innovation Award and WaterForce Wise with Water Award
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