A fifth-generation Maheno farming couple is one of five finalists in this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
James and Bridget McNally live on a property called Quambatook, an Aboriginal name meaning “place of rest”.
They farm in partnership with Mr McNally’s parents, Ray and Kathrin McNally.
The family invited the general public to look around their land in December’s “Open Gates” initiative by DairyNZ, to show how dairy farmers are working towards healthier waterways.
Quambatook was converted to dairying 11 years ago. Its herd of 800 cows was being boosted to 900 for the 2018-19 season.
The McNallys saw themselves as environmental stewards for the next generation, appreciating the succession opportunities that dairy farming gave them.
Running a sustainable dairy business went hand in hand with caring for the environment, they said.
“We have a number of small spring-fed creeks and gullies that are all completely fenced off from stock. We run a low stocking rate, low fertiliser and low input system, which helps our environmental footprint.
“At the same time we maintain strong profitability in order to support two families and four great staff members.”
Mr McNally is a member of North Otago Sustainable Land and Management group and Kakanui irrigation committee, and represented Oamaru at the environmental leaders’ forum in Wellington in December.
The other Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards finalists are Port Chalmers sheep and beef farmers John, Shona and Robert Chapman, Waipahi sheep and beef farmers Logan, Ross and Alexa Wallace, Owaka Valley dairy farmers Cody and Nicola Hartvigsen, and the AgResearch Invermay research farm managed by Kevin Knowler.
The awards will be presented at the Lake Wanaka Centre on April 13.