South Otago couple do well in Ballance farm awards

Sandra and Chris Campbell
Sandra and Chris Campbell
Fresh sets of eyes over their dairy farm during the judging process was a bonus for Sandra and Chris Campbell when they entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The couple hosted a field day on their Oakwood Hills property in South Otago last Wednesday. About 30 people attended.

The couple learned about their success in the Otago regional awards during lockdown, when they won the Bayleys people in primary sector award, the DairyNZ sustainability and stewardship award and the Norwood Agri-business management award.

"We are pretty rapt with what we achieved in the BFEA," Mr Campbell said.

In addition to contract milking on the 280ha, partially self-contained farm for the past four years, they are also 50% equity partners in the same property with Peter and Elaine Carnie from Invercargill.

They milk about 480 cows with a 237,000kgMS target.

About 25% of the calves were kept as replacements and most of the rest were sold for beef.

The effluent goes through two weeping walls to remove the solids, and the green water goes into a 90-day storage pond, before going on to the paddocks through the 60 low-application K-line pods, monitored by a Dairy Green effluent management system.

The couple have done an extensive planting and fencing programme , including 5km of river fencing as well as riparian and gully planting.

They have fenced critical source areas and gullies, and have about 20ha in forestry blocks and for stock shelter.

Mrs Campbell has a large tunnel house and grows native plants in their own nursery.

The couple entered the awards because they were passionate about their sustainable farming journey and keen to share it with others.

A key focus was caring for the environment while enhancing the land and stock to ensure quality water and pasture, and healthy animals.

The Campbells were always pushing to improve their herd, the land and production — driving efficiency from all management areas.

Their breeding plan has resulted in a well above average cow production.

Mrs Campbell is a former National/ANZ bank manager while Mr Campbell grew up on a dairy farm near Palmerston.

They have two children: Ryan (6) and Charleigh (8).

"Sandra is more involved in the community," Mr Campbell said.

"She is on the board of trustees for Waiwera South School, and belongs to the South Otago River Care Group.

"I am just the fantastic guy backing her up," he quipped.

Add a Comment