From left: Peter Morphew, Andrew Morphew (winner MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards 2021), Ivo Buratovich (Fairfield Dairy), Jean Adam, and Jorgen Wilkström (Photographs by MPO KwaZulu-Natal)

Andrew Morphew of Colbourne Farm near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal was declared the winner of the prestigious MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards at the awards ceremony held during the virtual annual congress of the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO) on 19 October 2021. Husband-and-wife team Simon and Stacey Miller from Sherwood Farm in Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal were placed second, with Jake Crowther from Oakhurst Farm in Hoekwil in the Western Cape in third place. Their prizes, sponsored by Nedbank, are R40 000, R30 000, and R10 000, respectively, to be used to pursue stewardship goals on their farms.

From left: Stacey and Simon Miller (Sherwood farm, second place winner MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards 2021), James Kean (Mearnes farm, second place winner MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards 2019), Sandra Berning (Springvale farm, winner MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards 2020), and Andrew Morphew (Colbourne farm, winner MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards 2021)

Sustainable dairy farming requires constantly updating the rules of the game to keep up with rapidly changing technology, the challenges of climate change, and the increasing demands from government, the community, and the consumer. Living up to these expectations consistently in an excellent way is a formidable task, which is why the MPO, in partnership with Nedbank, annually recognise and reward outstanding dairy stewards through the MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards, in association with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and The Dairy Mail.

Dairy farmers who are nominated by role players in the industry have to:

  • apply sustainable farming practices and conservation;
  • maintain high standards of animal welfare and an effective herd health management programme;
  • ensure a high quality of life for all the people on the farm and add value to the local community;
  • produce a healthy, safe high-quality product; and
  • improve profitability on a continual basis by increasing the business’s resilience or capacity to deal with volatility and adverse events and improving on-farm efficiency.

From left: Alister Winfield and Jake Crowther (Oakhurst farm, third place winner MPO Nedbank Stewardship Awards 2021)(Photograph by MPO Western Cape)nk

The nominees were requested to complete the MPO 3P metric stewardship survey, which is the electronic component of the assessment. The three finalists were determined by the scores achieved for the answers to the questionnaire. The judging panel of Dr Heinz Meissner from Milk SA, Jompie Burger from the Dairy Standard Agency, Sue Viljoen from WWF, and Barbara Bieldt from the MPO paid a verification visit to each of the finalists’ farms as the last step in the evaluation process. The final scores were calculated through a weighted combination of the points achieved for the MPO 3P metric survey and during the farm verification visits.

Barbara Bieldt, manager for stewardship and regulatory services, said, “The standard of entries this year was outstanding and the MPO is extremely proud of our excellent dairy stewards. Hearty congratulations to our winners Andrew, Simon and Stacey, and Jake!”

Morphew and his management duo Jean Day and Jorgen Wilkström were described by the judges as top notch and very aggressive in the correct disciplines, eager to improve where possible. “This team is formidable! They are highly skilled and farm with the necessary confidence to make rational decisions in their own disciplines”, said the judges.

Over the last two years, Morphew has converted his conventional dairy farm to a 100% organic farm, which is remarkable. Furthermore, he has empowered himself with knowledge on many sustainable dairy topics and has impressive levels of insight and understanding on practices to build soil health and soil carbon and, thereby, not rely on chemical fertilisers or inputs. “Herd health management is truly outstanding with an exceptional average somatic cell count. The meticulously kept records, and overall cleanliness and hygiene levels set a very high bar”, said Bieldt, adding, “Andrew has extraordinary vision and is a worthy winner!”

Second prize winners, the Millers, are dedicated young farmers with Stacey focusing on herd health management and Simon on soil health and optimal pasture management. Their focus on restoring and maintaining wetlands and creating natural movement corridors for wildlife and providing forage for game birds is inspiring. The Millers are passionate and enthusiastic and intent on improving all aspects of their farm business. The judges look forward to seeing the impact of planned developments on Sherwood Farm in the future!

Third place winner, Jake Crowther, is a proactive farmer, open to input and suggestion, who genuinely wants to do the best he can to improve stewardship of his resources and be as sustainable as possible. Crowther runs a well-managed farming enterprise and uses all opportunities to diversify his farming activities. The incorporation of agri-tourism on his farm by converting and repurposing derelict farm buildings to serve as holiday accommodation, is not only innovative but has created job opportunities and supports the community.

Find the MPO on-line:

Website: | Facebook: |Twitter: @MilkMpo

For more information:

Barbara Bieldt: Stewardship and regulatory services | | Cell: 083 235 2629

Issued by AgriConnect


Published on Wednesday, 20th October 2021 - 12:51

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