December 23, 2022
People of KMR – David Byles – Farming for future generations
David Byles is hugely committed to the Matakohe farm he bought 30 years ago.
And with the environmental enhancing plan he has in place, combined with his partnership with the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme, he plans to be on the land until the day he dies – simply because he wants to enjoy every moment of watching his native trees regenerate.
David is a born and bred farmer and recognises the importance of looking after the land – waterways being paramount, he says.
In 2022 David has worked with KMR Field Advisor Jacque Knight to put 1510 native plants in the ground surrounding a 1ha block of water. In the winters of 2023 and 2024, the same treatment will be given to two sides of a 1.73ha water catchment – all thanks to the Sediment Reduction Plan created by Jacque.
Like David, Jacque is all about embracing the local community, working together, caring for the land and making a difference to the environment.
Prior to linking with KMR, David had fenced off a 2.5ha block of native on his 127ha beef farm and says the native growth the past five years has been amazing. He has plans to lock up more areas of native bush.
While David runs 140 beef cattle, of which up to 60 are in-calf dairy grazers, his stocking ratio is light so as to treat the land well.
Before planting got underway, David walked the property with Jacque to show her the variety of native species already on the land and explain to her why he didn’t just want manuka and cabbage trees. He wanted an array of larger species like Kauri, Puriri, Kahikatea and more.
“I took Jacque for a walk in my bush block and told he that’s how I wanted my farm to look in 50 or 60 years – even though I won’t be here. She took that on board and so we put in many of those species in the first planting,” says David.
The 2022 planting was very much a community affair.
“I had the plants delivered a week ahead of time and spread them all around the planting area. On the day I had help from students at Tinopai Primary and Dargaville Intermediate.”
Kaipara Harbour Care, NRC and KMR staff helped out as well.
While David was happy to continue with his own planting regime he has realised that the support of KMR is going to get the job done much quicker.
“To me it is about leaving the farm in a better state than when I took over, while still ensuring it is a productive farm that future generations can benefit from. To be honest, I love going for a walk through a nice block of native bush and that’s why I think if you have a bit of dirt that is unproductive, fence it off and plant it up to attract native birds back to the area.
“When I first looked at this farm I fell in love with it because of all the trees and the shade and shelter they create for the animals which reduces stress on the animals.”
As for planting more native trees in partnership beyond 2024?
“I am looking at other areas of the farm to fence off and plant, so I will definitely be working with KMR to get more natives in the ground in years to come,” says David.