August 2023 Thriving Southland Newsletter

Welcome to our August Newsletter!

It’s a busy time on-farm and for Catchment Groups as events and projects get going, or culminate in some cases, around the region. 
We know this is a tough time of the year in many of your farming calendars, and we thank everyone who’s made the effort to get off farm to get to one of your local Catchment Group events.
We launched the Food and Fibre project last month and have had a great response already. Ideas have been coming in, ranging from hemp fibre, gluten-free oats, heritage apples and pears and kelp farming.
The project is all about growing a strong regional future by exploring Southland's food and fibre opportunities, by discovering untapped possibilities. That’s why we’re asking you to help to uncover commercially viable opportunities that will diversify the region's economy and create new job prospects.
We’re looking for ideas right across the value chain from science, technology and genetics around species and crops, to harvesting and processing possibilities to infrastructure. The plan is to build on our already thriving primary produce sector in the region.
It’s a safe space to check out new ideas and as the consultation has been extended to 13 August, please pop onto our feedback website soon to tell us any great ideas you’ve had.
Also last month, more than 50 people attended the Carbon Neutral Dipton Project Outcomes Field Day completion event that included presentations, farm visits and a Q&A session making for a thought-provoking and informative afternoon. More on that below.
And of course, ACE (representing the six Aparima catchments) has just launched its ‘ACE at a glance online resource’, so read on for heaps more on this amazing, free resource.
It’s a busy time on-farm with calving and lambing underway, so keep warm, keep those ideas coming, and keep in touch with each other.

Check out all 35 Catchment Group profiles

We have compiled quick overviews of each Catchment Group and some of their achievements into a booklet: Click here to read.

‘ACE at a glance’ online resource a great toolbox for farmers

The Aparima Community Environment (ACE) group have created an online tool compiling all the Group’s research, data, project information, science and more as a farmer and community resource.
The new tool was launched at an event in Invercargill on 27 July.
ACE working group member and Pourakino farmer Ewen Mathieson said the new resource was called ‘ACE at a glance, online resource’ and was a free platform allowing farmers to explore the huge array of information, including water quality data, GIS mapping, and case studies on sediment traps, future farm systems and good farming practice.
By understanding the science, impact, innovations and ideas at catchment scale, the ACE Group looked to make positive change from the ground up, he said.
“As a resource, I think it will be of significant value to our community.”
Pourakino Catchment Group chair Cameron Black said the online tool was very user friendly and easy to follow.
“People in the Aparima catchments can go to the tool and get what they need to know.”
Thriving Southland senior catchment co-ordinator Rachael Halder said it was ACE’s vision and hope that the tool becomes an important part of every farmers’ toolkit to help them make great decisions on their farm.
Halder said the online tool would be regularly updated and paved the way for other catchment groups in Southland.
Check out the new online tool at: - or direct link
There are six Catchment Groups in Aparima, with 640 farmers, encompassing the Orepuki, Pourakino, Waimatuku, Lower, Mid and Upper Aparima, and has been operating since 2018.
For more information on ACE click here.

Fantastic turnout at Carbon Neutral Dipton Project Outcomes Field Day

There might not be a silver bullet to reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHG) on farm, but there’s plenty of silver buck-shot that can contribute to significant improvements.
That was one of the themes that shone through at the Carbon Neutral Dipton Project Outcomes Field Day this week.
Carbon Neutral Dipton is an aspirational, farmer-driven project aiming to balance environmental and economic sustainability through innovative on-farm change. The project started in November 2022.
More than 50 people attended event at the Dipton Hall on 18 July with presentations, farm visits and Q&A session making for a thought-provoking and informative afternoon.
Read the rest of this fantastic story here.

Lower Aparima Annual winter grazing tour 2023

Sun, neighbours, good chat, great winter grazing and a fabulous afternoon out. Thanks to Rabo Bank and Farmlands Co-operative for the refreshments and a special thanks to the farmers that hosted us and shared their Winter Grazing practices. Until next year!

Lower Oreti Catchment Group Wintering Grazing Tour

Sunshine, cheese rolls and great hosts. What a way to celebrate the first three years of Thriving Southland. This wintering field day with the Lower Oreti Catchment Group on the Marshalls Farm, explored kale and multispecies block grazing, with baleage as a supplement. It included a great group of farmers with tonnes of knowledge.  Special things are happening on farms across Southland.  Keep up the great work!

Catchment Groups - On the Ground Progress through Science

It was awesome to be able to showcase the work of Southland’s Catchment Groups at the South Island Dairy Event in June. Thanks to members of Hedgehope Makarewa, ACE, Greater Dipton and Orauea River Catchment Groups for sharing their projects and demonstrating the power of understanding the science in order to drive change.  It is so good to see you sharing what you have done and spreading the word about what Catchment Groups can achieve.

Oreti Catchment Groups Catch Up

Every year the Oreti Catchment Groups get together and have meal and a catch up.  It was another lovely evening with the crew, and a big thank you to all those who braved the wild and windy weather to come along. It was our fourth year of getting together and sharing what we have been up to and our future ideas. It was wonderful seeing how many of the ideas we had in 2022 have happened, and we have a great list for this coming year – including an Upper Oreti Bus Trip, NAIT evening, wetland and animal pest projects, and interesting speakers on weed control and preparing for upcoming rules and regs.  Looking forward to next year and seeing what we have achieved!

Waihopai Catchment Group Wetland and Sediment Trap Field Day

A wild and wet day for a wetland and sediment trap field day- but well worth it. We dodged the downpours, caught up in cow and wool sheds and came up with some great ideas for what might be next for the Waihopai Catchment Group. Many thanks to the O'Reilly and the Schmidt Families for welcoming us on to their farms and talking to us about what they have done, plus Brooke and her team for hosting our afternoon tea in their woolshed at the Woodlands Research Farm. Thanks also to Rob and Jessie from Environment Southland, Karina from Plasbacknz, James from Pukerau Nursery, and co-organiser Nicole from Fonterra.

Orauea River Catchment Group - Putting Science into Action - what's next for the Group

Thanks to Orauea River Catchment Group for a great afternoon. We heard from the Waiau Trust and Environment Southland Land Sustainability team about options for progressing on-the-ground actions based on the Group’s science. We then had a brainstorming session to discuss future project ideas. Thanks to everyone for your contributions.

Mid Oreti Wintering Barn Field Day

We had a blast at our Wintering around Winton field day! Huge thanks to AB Lime for talking us through the composting barn, their challenges and how to overcome them, and to Cam and Christina for showing us their epic deer wintering.

It was possibly one of the worst weather days so far this year - with a high of 3 degrees and frequent hail and sleet showers (perfect conditions to showcase the benefits of wintering barns!). We kept warm with hot drinks from Nana Rails Drive By Espresso, and scrummy bacon butties.

About 30 brave souls joined, so it’s good to know that there is still a lot of interest in wintering barn systems out there. It was a fantastic learning experience for all of us. Thank you to everyone who joined us for this enjoyable day out.

Understanding your Landscape to Effect Change

Wendonside Catchment Group are at the business end of their Understanding Wendonside Land and Water to Effect Change project. The Group recently held four farmer focus group meetings with Chris Beatson from AgriMagic. Members were presented with the findings on StoryMap including water quality data and modelling, catchment hydrogeology and mapping at farm scale.

Otamita Catchment Groups Sediment trap tour and BNZ sponsored social get-together

It was great to see a core group of farmers enjoying a look around Jeff and Anna Clearwater’s property in the neighbouring Balfour Catchment. The Group then moved on to Glen Islay Station before heading back to the Mandeville Country Club for a community catch up. Thanks to Jeff Clearwater and Paul Bell for showing us around, and to BNZ for once again supporting Catchment Groups to connect and learn.

Mid Oreti Catchment Group - Mini Forest Movement Open Evening (first Tuesday of every month)

Tuesday 1 August, 4pm to 6pm
AB Lime Nursery, 10 Bend Road, Winton

All welcome to come to our monthly native plant growing working-bee evenings at the AB Lime Nursery.  Your help will go toward growing plants for the Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement Project, which provides native plants to the local community and landowners for their planting projects. Training is provided and all ages welcome!  Stay for as little or as long as you can.

Hedgehope Makarewa Catchment Group – Maps into Action interactive sessions

Thursday 3 August AND Tuesday 10 October, from 10.30am to 1pm  
Salvation Army Hall (Dejoux Road, Winton)

Building on the successful ‘Understanding Our Landscape’ field day, held at the Miller's property in March, this session will show you how to access and use state of the art landscape susceptibility and slope maps for your property. This session will provide valuable information that can be used in your Farm Environment Plan if you live in the Hedgehope Makarewa and Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group areas and the eastern parts of Mid Oreti.
Limited spaces, please RSVP to Mo Topham on 027 279 7449.

There are likely to be more events in the pipeline so make sure you check out the events section on the Thriving Southland website and the Facebook page for details.
Have a great August,
Ngā mihi
Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead) and the Thriving Southland Team


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