Sustainability and Responsibility
We acknowledge that historically agriculture was a driver for biodiversity loss and it is our privilege to actively manage the land to redress this and be the solution. We use regenerative practices, tracking the changes, to confirm improvements.
To enhance the environment we:
- have identified areas of high ecological significance and fenced them off, to exclude stock. Remnant vegetation, predominantly along the Winslow Gorge, is protected. We have fenced off the rivers and revegetated the banks providing a wonderful Wallaby habitat.
- plant at least 1 km of tree plantations, from locally sourced seed, annually. This has resulted in increased biodiversity, notably Koalas and bees.
- pasture mass is maintained above a total of 1,000 kg DM/ha which ensures the surface movement of water, nutrients and soil is greatly reduced. We rotational graze pastures to optimum heights and prevent weeds invading pastures (grazing too short can allow broadleaf weeds to invade). Ground cover is kept above 95% which prevents erosion.
- Kia Ora has dung beetles which bury manure.
- stock are watered by troughs to protect the waterways.
- we do frequent soil tests and only fertilise to achieve our target Olsen P (17-22) and to provide any other elements the soil needs. We track our increasing soil carbon levels.
- we only crop to control weed and improve pasture. This is a 3-4 year program as we sow annual crops (direct drill) and end with a mixed species perennial pasture.
- we are avid recyclers. Reusing and repurposing is the norm with a contractor taking any excess.
We knew the systems and processes we developed were more than ticking boxes for various quality schemes and took the time to quantify what we do. This resulted in our Ethical, Sustainable, Profitable wool production plan (ESPwool®), which captures our holistic approach to farming.
Kia Ora is also accredited under the Fox and Lillie Geneyses Group, for the Responsible Wool Standard. This is a voluntary global standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on. The certification ensures that sheep are treated with respect to their five freedoms and also ensures best practices in the management and protection of the land.
We exceed all animal welfare and Livestock Producer Assurance (LPA) legislation and standards. We are an accredited SustainaWOOL and Authentico supplier.
To ensure flock well-being we respect the five freedoms for animals:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease: by prevention through rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to express normal behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Specifically our sheep are free range and we monitor sheep health closely keeping ewes above score 2.5. We only drench when worm egg count (WEC) is raised. We use pain relief for procedures (we do not muelse), do not shear the hocks (below the knee) to reduce risk of injury, use cover (snow) combs for young stock and if shearing in cooler weather. Lambs are not shorn. We shear adult sheep every nine / ten months – to ensure the sheeps comfort, wool is not over length and is suitable for high end processing. Our sheep birth naturally and we only interfere if absolutely necessary. We work with nature so lambing is in spring (September) as the feed is abundant and the weather warms. Summer crops are direct drilled, as part of pasture rejuvenation and to wean lambs onto. Proper animal health, quarantine (Bio-security) and welfare practices are followed.
As a family business we provide for the safety and well-being of our stock, contractors and employees and work beside them to demonstrate safe practice and our care.
Our philosophy and story is shared by Wolfgang Scout, Australia.
Kia Ora Fast Facts:
- We are a monitoring site for the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project, helping to quantify the ecosystem services and economic benefits provided by dung beetles. https://www.dungbeetles.com.au/
- Winner Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year, Australian Biosecurity Awards 2020.
- We were the Meat & Livestock Australia Sustainable Producer of the Year, in the Lambition Awards 2020.
- Kia Ora was recognised as a Face of Business Victoria, 2020. https://faces.business.vic.gov.au/faces/kia-ora-merino/
- Kia Ora won the Small and Medium Enterprise and the Premier’s Regional Recognition Award 2019 in the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards, for our cross-operational commitment to sustainability.
- Kia Ora was accredited as the 58th Victorian sanctuary, under the Wildlife Land Trust and awarded Land for Wildlife status. These are voluntary conservation programs aiming to support and enhance flora and fauna on private land, alongside production. https://www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/protecting-wildlife/land-for-wildlife
- We established the Best Food and Fibre Environment Group Inc., and work with extended family and friends to protect remnant vegetation and improve the environment.
- Kia Ora is also involved in the Australian Platypus Monitoring Network and site monitoring. https://www.platypusnetwork.org.au/home
Kia Ora is renowned for its magnificent fine wool and sustainable practices. We strive to find the perfect balance between farming, lifestyle, family and the environment. Please let us know if you would like to share your insights or have any questions.