Cow health, in-calf rate gains impress

Andrew, Rachel, Jocelyn and Jason Miller, Chris Henderson and Eleanor and Quentin Miller have won...
Andrew, Rachel, Jocelyn and Jason Miller, Chris Henderson and Eleanor and Quentin Miller have won the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Photo: supplied
Financial and environmental stewardship has seen the Miller family of Roslyn Downs win the regional supreme award at the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The 1034ha dairy, sheep and beef operation at Glencoe is led by brothers Jason and Quentin Miller, along with Jason’s son Andrew. The original 149ha farm has been in the Miller family since 1960, with the dairy farm added to the operation when Andrew and his wife Rachel joined the business in 2019.

Roslyn Downs is predominantly sheep farming with a focus on achieving high levels of production efficiency. Along with running an average of 4000 ewes, it hosts a stud sheep-breeding programme and provides dairy support for the dairy farm, Claymore Dairies.

At Claymore, the team were striving towards a five-year target of achieving 500kg of milk solids per cow. The judges were impressed with the overall health of the cows and how the Millers have increased in-calf rate gains over a short period of time.

The use of independent consultants was crucial to helping the team achieve strategic outcomes. Since 2020, they had tripled business revenue and doubled their asset base.

Over the years the Millers have increased native species and planting across the property, adding new areas and connecting and enhancing existing sites.

The judges noted the Millers had created a thriving ecosystem that supported native species and reduces erosion through careful consideration of environmental mitigations.

They also commended the Miller’s data-driven approach to farming, observing that it enabled them to make informed decisions that enhanced both environmental stewardship and profitability.

"The use of sound science, monitoring and measurement, alongside an in-depth understanding of the physical landscape, its attributes and limitations has led to careful consideration when implementing and adapting management practices. As a result, outstanding outcomes in both production and the environment have been achieved across the property," they said.

The Millers also won the following awards:

 - Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

 - Hill Labs Agri-Science Award.

 - Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award.

 - NZFET Innovation Award.

 - Environment Southland Water Quality and Biodiversity Award.

Other winners

Other Southland Ballance Farm Environment Award winners included:

Mike and Kirsty Bodle (Braintra Farms, Hokonui): DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award; NZFET Biodiversity Award; NZFET Climate Recognition Award.

Tracey and Steve Henderson (Legendaries, Awarua): Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award.

James and Tanya Goodwin (Kelvin Grove, Waimumu): Norwood Farming Efficiency Award.

Philip and Katherine McCallum (Rockley Farm, Balfour): Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award.