Our Values

Mission: To be a thriving business that positively impacts society and the environment, using ethical and sustainable practices, ensuring our ESPwool® continues to be earth, people and animal friendly.

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 evidence based regenerative practices, tracking the changes, to confirm improvements.

To enhance the environment we:

  • fenced out 21 hectares of habitat for the endangered Australasian Bittern.
  • have identified areas of high ecological significance and fenced them off, to exclude stock.  This includes remnant vegetation, predominantly along the Winslow Gorge, waterways and revegetating 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.

Community: 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. We support our regional area by sourcing farm inputs locally, employing local contractors, respecting the Gunditjamara land and appreciating the vital role agriculture has for humanity.

Our philosophy and story is shared by Wolfgang Scout, Australia.

Wolfgangscout at Kia Ora

Support for Ukraine

Methane, Carbon, Biodiversity and ESPwool®

We recognise the Lifecyle of wool includes the interlinking of inputs to grow the raw wool, its processing, manufacturing and the final disposal of the wool product. We contribute to deliberations and wait for parameters and definitions of the HIGG, PEF, LCA, Carbon and Methane measures and targets etc. We have no plans to sell or buy carbon and focus instead on doing our very best to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestion.

It is with confidence and pride that we grow our ESPwool® (Ethical Sustainable Profitable wool production). Our farm operates in a holistic paradigm where methane produced cycles, carbon is sequested, a complex growing environment supports enhanced biodiversity, biosecurity protocols are followed, animal welfare is ensured, and regenerative practices used – all according to evidence based best practice. To evidence of this work we will retrospectively record the last 20 years of working towards carbon neutrality and from 2022 audit annually.  This calculator used is:  A Greenhouse Accounting Framework for Beef and Sheep properties based on the Australian National Greenhouse Gas Inventory methodology: Ekonomou A., Dunn J., Wiedemann S., Eckard R. (2020). Beta version by Integrity Ag and Environment, updated Feburary 2022.

http://piccc.org.au/Tools

Kia Ora Fast Facts:

  • The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project, in which we particpated, quantifed the ecosystem services and economic benefits provided by dung beetles, reported 2022.   https://www.dungbeetles.com.au/
  • Four Birds on Farms survey sites allocated on Kia Ora 2021, counts continue quartlerly.
  • Kia Ora was Winner Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year, Australian Biosecurity Awards 2020.
  • Kia Ora was Meat & Livestock Australia Sustainable Producer of the Year, Lambition Awards 2020.
  • Recognised as a Face of Business Victoria https://faces.business.vic.gov.au/faces/kia-ora-merino/
  • Winner Small and Medium Enterprise and the Premier’s Regional Recognition Award 2019, Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Awards, for our cross-operational commitment to sustainability.
  • Accredited as the 58th Victorian sanctuary, under the Wildlife Land Trust
  • Awarded Land for Wildlife status, a voluntary conservation program aiming to support and enhance flora and fauna on private land, alongside production. https://www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/protecting-wildlife/land-for-wildlife
  • Established the Best Food and Fibre Environment Group Inc., and work with extended family and friends to protect remnant vegetation and improve the environment.
  • We are an Australian Platypus Monitoring Network 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.

Kia Ora Merino wool is always welcome back to Kia Ora. We bury all items made with our ESPwool® when it can no longer be used and it is ready to decompose.