Kia Ora Merino (Vic ) wins Australia Sustainable Producer of the Year
Dedicated merino wool producers Brendan, Susan, James and Nicole Finnigan, through their farming
business Kia Ora Merino, are leaders in on-farm biosecurity, sustainable land management and animal
They are strong advocates for biosecurity and best practice livestock and farm management. This has
supported their market access and the quality of their farming environment. Their seamless and strict
biosecurity measures are incorporated into everyday farming practices. They developed Ethical, Sustainable,
Profitable (ESP) wool production, which combined their BIOCHECK® Biosecurity plan with all farm welfare, quality and management processes, and procedures. Kia Ora Merino uses a variety of biosecurity systems.
The Finnigan family regularly update their biosecurity plan, use strong documentation practices and have high standards for nutrition, cleanliness, health and disease prevention. Kia Ora Merino also uses the AWEX WoolClip
app, which is used in conjunction with the addition of QR/RFID tracking on each wool bale. This means tracking
is possible from farm to product, adding a new level of biosecurity and provenance to the wool.
Kia Ora Merino does not have footrot, lice or drench resistance. To maintain this status, strict rules are applied, such as: • never returning sheep to the flock if they leave the property • well-maintained boundary fences • fencing off rivers within property boundaries.
Merino has a self-replacing flock and uses artificial insemination to purchase outside genetics. The few purchased stock undergo quarantine drenching, inspection, vaccination and other measures before being quarantined in a separate paddock for 21 days.
Equipment is kept on the property to avoid contamination. Visitors must follow biosecurity signage and sign a logbook. Visitor vehicles are directed to specific parking locations and visitors use farm vehicles on the property. New footwear is also provided to shearers to stop the spread of lice between sheds.
Kia Ora Merino has also played a role in influencing and enabling other farmers to take biosecurity measures. The family uses social media and the Kia Ora Merino website to maintain transparency and communicate farm practices to customers and the public. Kia Ora Merino was one of the first farms in the local area to introduce biosecurity signage at all entry points.
Kia Ora Merino has won several awards, including the Premier’s Sustainability Awards 2019 and the Lambition
Awards Meat & Livestock Australia Sustainable Producer of the Year 2020. The farm is also accredited under the Fox & Lillie Rural Genesys group for Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). The family also works towards protecting remnant vegetation and is involved in the Australian Platypus Monitoring Network.
Kia Ora Merino’s industry-leading biosecurity management approach helps protect Australian agricultural industries from exotic pests and diseases. It was nominated for the award by Mon Schollick, Fox & Lillie’s RWS Genesys Certification Standards Coordinator.
Photo: Finnigan family Olivia 5, Susan, Brendan, James holding Jim, Madison and Nicole Finnigan.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Australia