Protecting the farm environment a priority for Elya Holdings

NZ Farmer

The farm managers at Elya Holdings are passionate about protecting the environment.

Craig and Rachael Horrell manage Elya Holdings, a Fortuna Group specialist dairy grazing farm, near Te Anau.

The 665 effective hectare farm has been named as a finalist in the Southland Community Environment Awards farming section.

The farm encompasses 14 kilometres of the Wilderness Stream and since taking over the farm five years ago the Horrells have gone to work fencing off the waterways throughout the property.

As well as fencing the stream and other water bodies, the pair have planted more than 20,000 trees throughout the farm, and created wetlands to act as nutrient traps. The wetlands provide a sanctuary for waterfowl and encourage native fish back into their streams.

The farm also contains 40ha of QEII Trust land.

For the Horrells environmentally sustainable farming is just the smart way to do things.

Craig says as keen hunter and fisherman he not only wants to protect the environment for himself, but also their children, and their great grandchildren.

"I've got the best office in the world. I look into the Takitimus [mountains] and out into Fiordland."

Rachael says the farm has to be a showcase for good farming practices as it is in the public eye with motorists driving past it to get to Fiordland.

Not only have they fenced waterways, ensured the wetlands are healthy and planted thousands of trees, the Horrells also work to make sure their other farming practices are sustainable.

The farm does all of its own agricultural work, and makes sure to have all of its baleage wrap recycled, Rachael says.

"It showcases what we're doing. We live to farm, we don't farm to live," Craig says.

Craig and Rachael's values fit with the philosophy of the Fortuna Group: "to always think about tomorrow, we're here for the long haul".

"We honestly believe in what we're doing. We're trying to help the cause. If we can prove to someone that what we're doing is working and we can encourage someone to do it, then we've done our job," Craig says.

The farm is split into two blocks, Matua and Atanga and carries 1000 calves and 1000 heifers year-round and winters 1500 mixed age dairy cows.

The next step for the Horrells is to understand how all their environmental changes to the farm effect it for the better.

"It's our focus to start understanding what our water quality is like."

Image Gallery

(Click to view full size)