A new online competition has been launched with the aim of celebrating Southland farmers' winter grazing practices.

'Paint a Better Picture' encourages farmers to take photos of a particular aspect of their wintering practice and post them online. Every Friday the farmer whose image has the most likes is awarded with some tasty pies.

The woman behind the idea is Suzanne Hanning of Bristol Grove Dairies. She told The Muster's Andy Thompson that she wanted to acknowledge the "awesome job" Southland farmers do over wintering.

"Southlanders are amazingly ingenuitive people, and they've come up with some pretty cool solutions of looking after their stock really well over the winter".


Although Hanning is a member of the Southland Dairy Environment Leaders Group, she said the competition is not just for dairy farmers.

"This isn't about dairy. This is about everything. This is about sheep, beef, deer, dairy - you name it - if its got four legs, or even two legs ... show us".

After last week's drenching, it's so nice to see the girls enjoying the dryer weather. Hopefully we've seen the back of the rain for a while 🌞 #paintabetterpicture

Posted by Bristol Grove Dairies Ltd on Sunday, 9 June 2019

Thompson asked if there was a concern that some images may not present a positive side to winter grazing, but Hanning saw this as a chance to "have a conversation about it".

"Even if you don't want to put a picture up, just look at your wintering system and say 'is this the best I could be doing? Are my cows, or my sheep - are they as happy as they could be?'"

The competition will run for six weeks, at the end of which, DairyNZ will choose an overall winner.

The winner will be awarded with a commissioned acrylic painting, valued at $600, of anything they choose.

Listen to the full interview below:

The image will be painted by Hanning, who "happens to dabble a little bit in artistry".

As a busy dairy farmer, Hanning is well aware of the pressure of creating a painting at the start of calving season, but she said it was worth it to celebrate Southlanders.


"I believe so strongly in the people of Southland ... these people are awesome".

Paint a Better Picture is into its third week, and so far the response has been "not bad", but Hanning is keen to get more people involved.

"The more we can get people to get these pictures up, the more it's going to drown out and kind of negative stuff that comes up".

"Let's celebrate this".

How to take part in #paintabetterpicture
• Take a photo of your winter grazing practise
• Post the photo on Bristol Grove Dairies Ltd Facebook page
• Post the photo on your own Facebook timeline with #paintabetterpicture

Every Friday, the picture with the most likes by 10am, gets four pies delivered to their farm.

The pies are sponsored by Environment Southland and delivered by either Farmlands or Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

DairyNZ is also supporting the competition with help monitoring the hashtags, and providing technical and organisational support.