Winner of Deer Enviro Award 2017

(Published on 1st June 2017)

The Premier Winner of the 'The Elworthy Environmental Award 2017' and the 'NZ Landcare Trust Award for Excellence in Deer Farming' are Steve and Chris Borland, and Bob Sharp who run a 982 hectare farming operation focused on velvet breeding, based at Oparau in the Waikato. This premier deer industry environmental award which has been supported by NZ Landcare Trust for a number of years was presented during the Deer Industry Conference which ran over two days, finishing Saturday 27 May.

The farm is part of Shabor Ltd, a family business partnership between the Borland's and Bob Sharp. The judges for the 2017 awards said they were impressed by the inspirational and motivated business approach, with a goal of continual improvement. They said the operation recognised key risk areas and implemented valuable mitigation actions. Another asset was how the farmers demonstrated a complete understanding of animal requirements and their relationship with the farm environment.

The business started from scratch just three years ago with no deer fencing or deer shed, and the judges believed the success behind the operation was phenomenal thinking, planning and development, underpinned by passion and drive. Recognition of business opportunities and the development of the property to allow family succession was also considered an asset. Finally judges thought this operation demonstrated excellent protection of native areas while allowing for the development of future business opportunities.

In addition to a successful deer breeding unit, Shabor farms sheep and beef - approximately 4,000 ewes and 200 cattle. The cattle stocking policy is subject to a Farm Environment Plan so could be reduced to 100 units.

The property receives in excess of two metres of rain per year with much of that arriving in pulses, which can see over 100mm fall in a couple of hours. The land is mostly steeply contoured with soil consisting of ash over clay, therefore the biggest concern revolves around erosion and sedimentation of waterways, combined with associated nutrient losses. To mitigate these problems the farm maintains a low stocking rate of ten units per hectare and also has an extensive fencing programme underway.

As director responsible for on-farm development, Steve is very proud of their achievements - protecting the environment while maintaining a profitable business. Steve says the property has always been open to scrutiny and he regularly hosts other deer farmers, taking these opportunities to share ideas and discuss pros and cons of different approaches. They are also part of the deer industry’s 'Advance Parties'[1] programme. Steve says he appreciates the input he gets from the local Advance Party and regularly implements their ideas.

In 2016 NZ Landcare Trust featured the Borlands in a couple of short movies about applying good farm management practices when developing a deer block and succession planning. These movies formed part of a series of short films about deer farmers and was linked to a NZ Landcare Trust deer industry project - the short film series is available here>

Alternatively you can view the movies on the NZ Landcare Trust YouTube channel:

For more information about NZ Landcare Trust's association with the deer industry and innovative ideas to promote good farm management practices contact Regional Coordinator Janet Gregory:



 (1) Advance Parties are groups of motivated deer farmers who identify and implement focused opportunities to lift profit on their individual farms. Advance Parties are part of a seven-year programme called Passion2Profit which is co-funded by the government’s Primary Growth Partnership and the deer industry.





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