Willie Lyons (Director) and Timothy Fairweather (Farm Manager) of Glenalvon

17/07/2022

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2022 Finalist: Willie Lyons and Timothy Fairweather (Farm Manager) of Glenalvon – Sheep and Beef

Investment, technology, knowledge, science and governance are key drivers that will allow Glenalvon to move with the future, according to owner and director Willie Lyons.

The Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farm has been in his family for more than 100 years, with Willie taking over the reins in 2020 with the help of farm manager Tim Fairthweather.

At just over 470ha, the team runs 65% beef and 35% sheep. Their stocking policy is all about being completely flexible – allowing the business to work with nature rather than against it. Every aspect of the business aligns to the seasons, recognising the fact that the area is notoriously dry.

The team started the business on the back of a severe drought, combined with a lack of water and fencing infrastructure, and rough pastures.

Their top priority was to invest in quality water infrastructure – a project that is well underway and is expected to be complete in 2023. Under the guidance of farm consultants, they’ve redeveloped the stock water system and redesigned the paddock layout which, among other things, means they can now fence off waterways and streams.

They also decided to graze the farm back to life, implementing monthly pasture and feed budgeting, along with regular development planning.

There has been a vast improvement in the management of pasture, including a change of grazing style and an increase in water troughs and electric fencing. The biodiversity of soils and pasture has benefited from this shift.

Although Willie has a long family connection to Glenalvon, his main reason for taking over was to make improvements to future-proof the property so it wasn’t left behind.

He entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he knew it would encourage him to take a strategic view of what they are trying to achieve and how they will achieve it. He sees entering as just the start of their learning pathway as they strive to give Glenalvon the best chance of being passed onto the next generation of care-takers.

Willy and Timothy are the winners of WaterForce Wise with Water Award.

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