May 2024 Thriving Southland Newsletter

It’s a busy time of year (like it always seems to be!) with lots of fantastic Catchment Group activity happening in Southland.
If you haven’t grabbed your spot at the the Southern AgriTech and Innovation Day 2024, hosted by Thriving Southland and supported by the Gore/Waimumu Catchment Group at the Southern Field Days site in Waimumu, Gore on 2 May - you need to get in real quick! This free event has over 200 registrations already – and is dedicated to showcasing the latest advancements in farming technology and innovation, tailored specifically for the southern farming community.
From keynote presentations to hands-on workshops, attendees will have the opportunity to connect with industry experts, explore cutting-edge solutions, and gain valuable insights to enhance their farming practices. It promises to be a highlight of the agricultural calendar.
Thank you to all our generous sponsors who have helped make this day something special.
All the details are here.
Elsewhere, there are some great collaborations happening, such as the Waikaka, Waikawa and South Coast Catchment Groups who have been jumping headlong into group planning meetings.
This month’s newsletter is chocker with all the happenings from project reports to planting days (great time of year for it!) to ‘slow the flow’ ideas and beach clean-ups!
Special mention (and more below) to the Greater Dipton Catchment Group for their recognition at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards - they are an inspiration for us all and no doubt their fellow Catchment Groups will be striving for similar success in 2024!

Beyond Regulation: Unveiling The Final Report

The final report on the pioneering Understanding your landscape’s resilience: Beyond Regulation project, outlining the outcomes of all three case studies, is now available on our website. Take a closer look here to gain valuable insights into our findings and recommendations.
In collaboration with Land and Water Science Ltd (LWS) and Thriving Southland, the Beyond Regulation initiative was launched to redefine sustainable land management practices in the Mataura catchment while boosting the financial resilience of local farmers. Funded by the Agmardt Food and Fibres Aotearoa New Zealand Challenge, this innovative project aimed to identify targeted mitigations to reduce environmental impacts while aligning with farmers’ goals.
Adopting a holistic approach, the project harnessed cutting-edge scientific landscape data and comprehensive farm system analysis to craft effective mitigation pathways for soil, greenhouse gas, and water quality emissions. They used high-resolution physiographic mapping with farm system assessments, to provide valuable insights at both catchment and farm scales.
Through the implementation of three carefully chosen case studies, representing dairy, sheep and beef, and arable farming systems, the project showcased the practical application of scientific insights at property scale. By strategically bundling low-cost farm system mitigations with landscape interventions, farmers were able to effectively reduce contaminants, emphasising the importance of integrating multiple strategies for optimal results.
Key Insights from Case Studies:

  • A dairy farm near Brydone showcased the success of bundling low-cost farm system mitigations with landscape interventions.

  • A sheep and cattle farm near Wendonside emphasised the importance of aligning hydrology and landscape susceptibility insights.

  • An arable farm near Balfour highlighted the significance of targeting nutrient applications and treating contaminants leaving the farm boundary.

The project aims to expand its reach through training programmes and resources, ensuring the widespread adoption of sustainable practices not only within the Mataura Catchment, but further afield.
For more information and to read the final report, click here.

Thriving Southland Survey Prize winner!

The lucky winner of the $100 grocery voucher for completing the Thriving Southland Annual Survey was Emma Hammond – from the Mid Oreti Catchment Group - congratulations Emma - happy shopping!

Resource of the Month

Have you checked out the Thriving Southland Info Hub?

There is a wealth of useful information covering everything from crops to farm team advice, to greenhouse gas and climate change info to nutrient management info. One of the latest additions is the Our Land and Water ‘Data Supermarket’, which is a repository of data about the ingredients, food and fibre we can grow in New Zealand, now and in the future, and is one of the “tools & resources” lists under the Land Use Opportunities project.
Check out the Info Hub here.

Have you done your wintering plan?

Another great resource for you… this time it’s an easy to complete wintering plan template to develop a simple effective paddock plan for any break fed wintering system this winter. By using this guide, you’re taking the right steps to continue lifting on-farm winter grazing standards.

Your template is here.

An effective wintering system supports good animal health and welfare, minimises soil and nutrient loss to the environment, complies with regional council regulations, protects valuable topsoil, complements the overall dairy farm system and the farm team’s work and provides a contingency plan for periods of adverse weather. Why wouldn’t you have one!

Makarewa Headwaters Catchment Group – Community Planting Afternoon

It was second time lucky for the Makarewa Headwaters community planting afternoon.  Thursdays have been particularly wet and rainy recently, but this one was a goodie. 35 people came together and helped plant 247 native plants at our community restoration site next to the Makarewa River in the Lora Gorge.

There was music, kids, spades, loppers, pruners, a BBQ and lots of fun. We used some of our Westpac Water Care Grant to buy locally grown plants and plant protectors to help keep them safe. Other plants were donated by NZ Conservation Services and local Catchment Group members Hamish and Lisa Elder, which we really appreciated.

Big thank-you to the Westpac NZ Agribusiness Crew from Invercargill and Gore for their enthusiastic and dedicated approach and the NZ Landcare Trust team whose support of environmental initiatives like this are hugely appreciated. Also thank you to the NZ Conservation Services Ltd whose support and enthusiasm is legendary, and a special mention to the Ruddenklau family for hosting our evening BBQ and to the Otapiri and Lora Gorge community, you're the best!

Lots of wonderful little helpers at nursery drop-in!

We had some wonderful little helpers at the nursery drop-in session this month. They got purple sleeves squishing the mingimingi berries and loved getting hands-on with sowing the seeds. Lots of manuka and carex got repotted too, and it was another lovely evening.

We also had our youngest ever helper who was strapped on to his dad! So lovely to have the next generation enjoying the planting day this month.

The Central Southland Toy Library were successful recipients of some native plants through our Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement Project, and it was great to have committee member, Isla Tree and her daughters, joining us and helping to propagate more plants for future recipients to benefit from.

Huge thanks to AB Lime for their ongoing support and expertise and the Westpac and New Zealand Landcare Trust for helping to fund this project this year, whilst our baby plants grow bigger and stronger.

Marshalling the Best Wetland Project has been launched!

Brilliant bacon butties were a win for the Mid Oreti Catchment Group’s Runoff Detainment Bund & Constructed Wetland field day in April.

We visited three sites on the AB Lime Farm - one man-made seepage pond, one small scale easy to do bund, and one larger scale sediment bund. We talked about costs, to plant or not to plant, how they were made and work, what rules and regs need to be considered, and who is around to help and give support.

AB Lime staff answered our questions on plants, drainage, soil, paddocks and changes to the farm system.  Environment Southland staff covered how they can help, and the questions on rules and regulations, and we had a great demo by Southland Fish & Game showing us how they can come out on farm and map how a wetland might look and where the water would pond back too with different sized bunds.

Huge thanks to the AB Lime Team, Southland Fish & Game and Environment Southland for supporting the field day and sharing their ideas, skills, knowledge and experience.

The Mid Ōreti Marshalling the Best wetland project has now been officially launched!

Greater Dipton Catchment Group work showcased at Ballance Awards

The Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards evening was a terrific night for the Greater Dipton Catchment Group. They were this year’s Catchment Group showcase for Southland, covering their work on Carbon Neutral Dipton Project, their annual wellbeing events, and fantastic field days.

Many thanks to Clare Officer and Brian Russell who accepted the award on the Group’s behalf, and who spoke so well about what they have achieved during the past four years.
Congratulations to all the entrants and winners, and to all the people involved in making the Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards such a great initiative. 

A special well done to all our Catchment Group members involved with the awards, and of course the 2024 Southland Supreme Regional Winners, The Miller Family of Roslyn Downs. We are really proud of you all and all that you have achieved.

Have you thought about entering your farm or Catchment Group next year?! Check out the award info website here.

Slow the flow ideas run freely at Gore get-together

The Gore Catchment Group hosted Land and Water Science, learning about low cost - local resources that farmers can use to slow down the amount of water/run off coming off the hills. The key takeaways were:

  • Source --> Pathway --> Receptor. Identify the source of the runoff, notice where the runoff is flowing, and create the appropriate intervention, and identify what the receiving environment is (i.e., waterway).

  • A lot of the sediment in the receiving river comes from the small tributaries upstream, especially the ones that only run 4-5 times per year.

  • Recording what you are doing is important. If you are building an intervention, take photos and videos, and also take photos and record when you are clearing out these interventions too, i.e., it took four tractor bucket loads to empty the silt trap. This helps with accountability and gives you an estimate of how much sediment you are collecting/not losing.

  • Many small structures make a big impact.

Big thank you to Fonterra for supplying the BBQ.  If you would like to be a part of the Gore Catchment Group, please get in touch with us here.

Waikawa Catchment Group integrated catchment management planning

The Waikawa Catchment Group approached by Environment Southland, have been working with the Ministry for the Environment and Boffa Miskell to understand the values, aspirations and challenges for the Waikawa Catchment, creating an Integrated Catchment Management Plan (ICMP). The Group have been attending meetings and providing feedback to the project. The draft ICMP has now been developed, feedback gathered and the final report will be available in June.

Stakeholder breakfast profiles Catchment Group achievements

There was a really good buzz at our Stakeholder Breakfast in April. More than 50 people came together for a bite to eat and to hear about what Southland’s Catchment Groups have been up to.
It was a great chance to hear from Steven Clarke about the changes he has made to his farming operation through being part of a Catchment Group and the Understanding your landscape’s resilience: Beyond Regulations Project.
Lots of people asked about the upcoming Southern AgriTech & Innovation Day - why not check it out and book your FREE spot today

Community beach clean-up another success!

What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The Waimatuku Catchment Group headed down at the Waimatuku River mouth for the annual rubbish clean up. Huge kudos to all the hard yakka put in today – she's looking mighty fine now! Cheers to everyone who lent a hand, you're true blue Southland legends. We had some fun spot prizes for fun rubbish found - a drone! A bra! … and a decoy duck (which was gladly taken home ready for a couple weeks’ time).

Waihopai Catchment Group – Woolshed Mini Speaker Series

Wednesday 1 May, 11am to 12.30pm
At the Woolshed on the Woodlands Research Farm - 
204 Woodlands-Morton Mains Road

Interesting, fun and relaxed. Bring your questions and listen to our great speakers. Enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch thanks to Rabobank.

For more information call Eoin Mackenzie on 027 307 6928.

Miller Family Farm Tour

Tuesday 7 May, 12pm 
Roselyn Downs, 5 Wilkins Road, Te Tipua, Mataura

  • Please ensure all vehicles and footwear are appropriate to meet Biosecurity requirements

  • 4WD vehicles please

RSVP for catering purposes by 1 May to Pip Standish at or 027 312 4151

Mid Oreti Native Seed Collecting and Pest Control Workshop

7 May, from 3pm to 5.30pm
AB Lime Nursery, 10 Bend Road, Winton

The Mid Oreti Catchment Mini Forest Movement is growing native plants for landowners, schools, and community groups across Central Southland. This is a great time of year to collect native seeds from shrubs and trees.

Join the Mid Oreti Team for some seed collecting in Motu Ngahere (AB Lime’s native forest block), and enjoy a guided walk around this lovely forest, learning about the different pest control methods they use to protect it. The loop track takes about 10 minutes and Brad (Biodiversity Manager) will stop at different pest control stations along the way and talk about how they work and what they target.
The Group will then head back down to the nursery and plant up their seeds. You are welcome to bring you own containers (ice cream ones are great) and pick them up for your plantings at home, or sow some for the Mid Oreti Mini Forest Movement Project.
Sturdy footwear is required, and it would be great if you have a 4WD that you could bring along to help with transport. Don’t worry if you don’t as there will be some on site already to help the group get up the hill to Motu Ngahere.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly… Building Resilience Together

Monday 13 May, doors open from 6.30pm
Tokanui Rugby Club

Join the South Coast Catchment Group and hear practical advice for managing finances, strategies for resilient farm business planning, and prioritising mental wellbeing.

Thank you to our local community who are supporting this event: Rural Support Trust, FarmPlan, ASB Rural, OCC Health South and the Tokanui Rugby Club.

South Coast Catchment Group Recycle Roundup

23 May, time TBC
Tokanui Hall

Recycle Roundup with the Tokanui Rural Women and the South Coast Catchment Group.

Come along and hear excellent speakers talk on how we can tidy our farms and community and meet our environmental obligations. We’re running a local recycle drive before this night and will be looking at what we got, and doing a little recycling on the night - more info to come.

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 May,
Ngā mihi
Richard Kyte (Thriving Southland Project Lead) and the Thriving Southland Team


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