Environmental Considerations & Resource Protection

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Environmental Enhancement and industry leadership

The group has a custodial, generational attitude towards the protection of its land, flora, and fauna - taking a long-term approach to preservation while implementing modern monitoring and agricultural practices. 

Willesden has a foundational ethos of finding the right balance between on-farm productivity and protecting the environment they operate within. Over the years there have been many examples of where Willesden has sought to connect corridors of flora and fauna to create a mosaic of production and biodiversity production. Management takes a leadership position in the region and consults widely with a number of biodiversity experts to assist them in their vision. 

This has evolved into creating a bespoke bio-diversity plant via Emeritus Professor David Norton, a recognised expert in biodiversity values in South Island farming, with Willesden presenting at various NZ Nature Conferences 

Riparian and Erosion Control Planting

Other streams and cattle yard areas have been a focal point for riparian native bush and tree planting. Land sensitive to slipping such as " long point" have been planted in poplar for stabilisation. 

Jacks Bush

This 70ha block of native trees and bush recently retired and has been excluded from stock in Prices Valley. An additional 150ha is anticipated to be added.

Pig Control

Banks Peninsula has a growing wild pig population that impacts both Willesden and the wider farming region. Willesden has led a sub-region-wide plan to eradicate pigs through remote infrared trapping and targeting culling. 

QE II Covenant Block

This is a 8ha block with some of the best lowland examples of Podocarp trees in Canterbury - some of which are 800 years old. The Thomas family sought and gained protection of this block in 1988.

Bio Protection Aotearoa Research Brief

Willesden has partnered with Bio Protection Aotearoa (BA), one of 10 centres for excellence across New Zealand, with a focus on designing resistant and resilient productive ecosystems. Within the Kaituna and Prices Valleys, BA are exploring the role of soil carbon in supporting the resilience of the ecosystem. In the long term, BA hopes to use this knowledge to design, support, and sustain productive landscapes elsewhere to build resilience to withstand the impacts of climate change.

Kaituna Doc Reserve and "Bunyip"

These are two interconnected areas of native bush on the farm that are either existing reserve or newly planted native bush (which will also be covenanted). These reserves are a catchment for a creek that runs through one of the blocks which is now fully fenced to completely exclude stock from the entire catchment. 

University Collaboration

Willesden have worked extensively with Lincoln University to assist in both pastoral studies and graduate education. Every year, a group of undergraduates are hosted on a farm to learn about fully integrated breeding and finishing units. Several studies designed to increase dry matter production have been based on trials at Willesden pastoral units with research papers published on the findings.