The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFET) is delighted to announce the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) entrants for 2022.
“We are thrilled to have received a range of excellent entries from across the country for this year’s awards,” said NZFET Chair, Joanne van Polanen. “It shows that despite all of the disruptions to business and life in general, farmers and growers across New Zealand are committed to environmentally sustainable practices. We are thrilled to be able to recognise and share their stories.”
To ensure the safety of staff, entrants and judges, the regional awards events, due to start in March, have been postponed until June and July 2022. “We are determined to run in-person functions to celebrate the entrants, but will do this when it can be done more safely,” said van Polanen.
The entrants from the Taranaki region include farmers across dairy, sheep and beef.
David & Samantha Turner
The Grange – Dairy support, Sheep and Beef
David’s great grandfather George Turner bought The Grange in 1880, cleared the land and established it as a successful farm that is now being managed by the family’s fourth generation.
Half of the business is heifer grazing on a weight-gain payment system, with the balance split between sheep and beef. 300 dairy heifers are grazed for 12 months and leave the property in-calf.
800 Romney ewes are mated to Romney or Polled Dorset rams, with female Romney lambs kept as replacements and the remainder sold prime. Weaner calves are purchased, farmed for about two years and usually sold prime.
Several sustainability initiatives are underway including the management of plant and pasture, animal health, and enhancing the environment with native planting.
With a focus on the management of soil, minimising waste, staff welfare and increased biosecurity, pest management and increasing the farm’s biodiversity.
Kenneth and Rachel Short
Shortland Farm – Dairy
This self-contained, certified organic property is used to grow all the feed for its 400 certified organic jersey cows and young stock.
The Shorts, fourth-generation on Shortland Farm, follow the simple mantra that healthy soils lead to healthy animals, ultimately meaning healthy produce and people. They utilise the expertise of a biological soil consultant and practice a range of regenerative agriculture principles.
Numerous other sustainability initiatives have been implemented or are in progress on the farm, including waste minimisation and pasture management.
Kenneth and Rachel are continuing their journey to sow multi-species pastures, with the ultimate aim of getting the whole property to look like a ‘salad bowl’. Hedgerows have been planted that will become shelter, fodder and boundary buffer zones.
Amy & Jono Ardern
Auroa – Dairy
Auroa is now in its seventh dairy season, while Amy started her veterinarian practice in 2014. The Arderns hard work and vision have led to both financial security and a great family lifestyle.
Jono is focused on investing first and foremost into pastures and soil fertility to deliver the highest financial returns and in turn enable more capital investment. He is making great use of the farm’s infrastructure to minimise winter damage. Understanding the strengths and limitations of the farm’s soils, has contributed to Auroa’s productivity more than doubling since they took over.
Great progress has been made on riparian planting to protect the many waterways that run through the property, with the riparian zones incorporating a mix of native and exotic. The natives introduce biodiversity and provide food and habitat for native wildlife. Meanwhile, the exotic trees often grow faster, provide stock fodder and are a potential source of timber.
Kieran and Olivia Clough
Wilaily – Dairy
The Cloughs are fully committed to future-proofing Wilaily for the next generation of farmers.
Building on extensive sharemilking experience, they started 50/50 share milking on the property about two years ago, and peaked at milking 250 cows. In addition, they lease out some of the land and winter 110 cows for about two weeks each year.
A lot of effort has been put into improving many aspects of the operation. They’ve increased the farm’s efficiency and production, and have reduced the use of supplements. In their first season at Wilaily, they used 100% farm-grown feeds and surpassed a previous milk solid record by more than 19,000kg.
Improvements have been made to almost every fence line, laneway and building, as well as the effluent system. They have also had success around soil nutrient monitoring, the management of their pasture and business planning, minimising waste, managing pests and improving animal health.
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards function for the Taranaki region is now on 6 July 2022.