Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year winners for 2016 Neil and Lyn Campbell will host their winner’s field day at their Fairlie property on Monday 3 April 2017.
The Campbell’s farm consists of 769ha of rolling hills and flats in Middle Valley near Fairlie in South Canterbury, producing sheep, deer breeding and finishing, and a variety of crops.
They won the judges’ praise with the “efficient, incredibly flexible and adaptive” approach to the way they have developed their dryland property. Their focus has been on systems that allow them to pursue activities that generate the most profit at the most effective point of time, with land stewardship always the foundation of their decisions.
Speaking to the secret of their success, Neil Campbell said, “we can’t compete on the basis of volume and, likewise, we aren’t big enough to compete by going straight to the market. Therefore our best option is to deliver each product at the time when it is most profitable.”
Chief Judge Nicky Hyslop said that when Neil and Lyn moved to their property their aim from the start was to be in the top ten percent of producers. They not only changed how the property was run, they instigated detailed analysis systems so every aspect of the farm operations could be measured and compared against key performance indicators.
“Neil and Lynn use accurate data to validate their decisions,” Hyslop said, “there’s no reliance on hunches or assumptions. Hard data is analysed to compare and choose between the different enterprises on the farm.”
Hyslop added that the farm’s small paddock sizes also allowed for specialist crops to be grown – such as oat and grass seed, and rape seed for oil – for maximum return.
“We go from summer dry valley floor to higher altitude moist hill country,” Neil Campbell explained. “Some of the things we are doing at altitude are more common at sea level, like growing crops. The diversity of our business gives us strong balance environmentally and financially.”
The Campbell’s will share this experience with farmers and the public at their field day on 3 April. The schedule for the day and how to register for the field day will be posted on this site in early March, or sooner.
Meanwhile, put the day in your farm calendar and plan for a innovative, inspirational and challenging day out at Fairlie in April.