The company is investing in programmes designed to help both the business and the sector maximise opportunities and address challenges.

The sustainability work includes improving water quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing biodiversity. This includes work to support endangered species.

Craigmore’s GM Farming Stuart Taylor says the company feels it has a responsibility to invest back into the New Zealand dairy sector, given its scope, scale and capability.

“As a business with scale, we can tap into expertise across multiple disciplines and be an early adopter of technology to help create space for other dairy farmers to take up new solutions,” Stuart says.

“With 22 farms in New Zealand and part-ownership of other farms, we can spread the cost and risk of trying new things. We’re up for anything we can do to help farmers and the sector to progress.”

Craigmore’s GM Farming Stuart Taylor.

Craigmore is working on a plan to share key learnings with other farmers. As a fifth-generation dairy farmer, Stuart believes there is nothing more important for New Zealand farming than to continue running successful businesses to contribute to the economy and local communities, while becoming even more sustainable into the future.

Craigmore has unique environmental work in development, including protecting the Canterbury Mudfish (a small native freshwater fish) and increasing the numbers of endangered native skinks.

“Our farm environment plans are tailored to each farm and set out the ways in which we can continue to reduce our environmental footprint,” Stuart says.

“This includes planting native trees and plants, which helps increase biodiversity and attract native birds. We’re planting alongside waterways which helps improve water quality and provides shade for fish and insects.”

Craigmore’s strategy also focuses on trialling new solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including new feed types and nature-based solutions.

It is also piloting EcoPond, a breakthrough technology to reduce methane in a first for the New Zealand dairy industry.

Stuart says Craigmore’s 400‐hectare dairy farm Glen Eyre in Oxford, North Canterbury, is the first commercial dairy farm in New Zealand to adopt EcoPond, an effluent treatment system that removes virtually all methane emitted from effluent ponds with an additive normally used in the treatment of drinking water.

The cutting‐edge technology at the farm, which milks 1100 cows, is the result of a collaboration between Ravensdown and Lincoln University.

Stuart is one of 400 environmentally focused farmers in the Dairy Environment Leaders (DEL) network, created by farmers, DairyNZ and the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust in 2007. The network aims to empower leadership and create opportunities to support and share on-farm actions to reduce the environmental footprint.

“Craigmore farm managers take part in local catchment groups where they can, supporting community initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint,” Stuart says.

Building a positive future for farm leadership and teams

Craigmore is committed to investing in professional and career development for its farm managers and employees. Working collaboratively with multiple people such as Chris Parsens, Ellen Ford and Jon Lasenby the company runs a high-performance teams programme, which Stuart says delivers transformational results for the company’s leaders. Long term, Craigmore hopes to transfer the process over to primary industries.

“We challenge our leaders to be self-aware and lead our people for a positive future for our business and their personal lives. People are one of the most important parts of a farming business and we’re committed to developing farm teams that succeed and love what they do.”

When setting a farm system, Stuart says he looks at the farmer’s natural style and the farm’s characteristics, including geography, climate and assets. The farm system is modelled to create success for the farmer and success for the farm.

“Every farmer is different. To attract the best people we have created flexibility around how we run our farms and how we employ people. We talk about what they want out of life, their career aspirations and risk profile, and remunerate people with situations that create win/win outcomes for the person and the business.”

Employment options include managers and contract milkers with or without equity, 50/50 sharemilkers and, in one case, a joint venture lease.

“We want to attract the best people and remunerate them in a way that helps them meet their career and life goals,” Stuart says.

Also, we introduce innovation onto farm by looking for “passion-projects” – once a farmer is succeeding on the farm, (great teams, cows, farm presentation and financials), we work closely with them to introduce an innovation based around their passion. An Innovation might enhance animal welfare and performance, the environment, people or farm system performance.

“Once we know the individual farmer’s passions – whether it’s technology, sustainability, building strong farm teams or something else – we can wrap innovation and technology around that passion.”

Investing for the future

Craigmore was founded in 2009 by New Zealanders Forbes Elworthy and Mark Cox, who believed the dairy sector was highly innovative but needed capital to invest in the trial and testing of technology to fast-track change in the sector.

“We have a strong focus on delivering a positive future for New Zealand’s primary sector and our rural communities,” Stuart says.

Media contact
Ali Tocker
Senior media specialist
p: 027 364 7532
e: ali.tocker@dairynz.co.nz

Page last updated:

6 May 2024