Dell, Ross and Roger Bawden
Oceanview Orchard Ltd., Kiwifruit, Beef and lamb
Since buying the property, 30 years ago, the Bawden family have transformed this uneconomical Te Puke property into a thriving, sustainable and profitable kiwifruit orchard.
About 8ha flatland of the 30ha property is in kiwifruit. Production was stunning in 2020, with irrigation boosting the fruit size and well-managed storage. Unfortunately, the 2021 year was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with pressure on labour resources.
Several areas of the property have been left in pasture and they’re used to run a successful small livestock operation with minimal inputs that includes Wiltshire sheep and trading cattle.
The Bawdens use science to increase their understanding of nutrient management for their kiwifruit and for the benefit of the community, hosting one of the most comprehensive nutrient and fertiliser trials ever seen in the kiwifruit industry.
The development of wetland and native plantings is also a priority as well as improving the health of the Waihi estuary and its contributing watersheds.
Steve and Paula Holdem and Jeff and Glenys Holdem
Holdem Farm, Dairy farming
After years of sharemilking, the Holdems purchased their farm in 2017 in partnership with Steve’s parents, Jeff and Glenys, and have realised their vision of making their farm environmentally and financially sustainable.
The first few years were tough but fun as they tackled significant infrastructure upgrades across the 308ha property, including pastures, houses, and effluent and cowshed upgrades.
The updated and easier to manage layout is enhanced by the use of science and technology – tools and data that are enabling production to exceed targets while reducing Nitrogen leaching.
The Holdems have planted a significant amount of stock shelter and are continually planting native species, with plans to install detainment bunds to help with phosphorus runoff.
The team spring calves about 700 cows, with all young stock grazed off. For six weeks, 200 cows are wintered off-farm, while re-grassing is done by under-sowing with annual grasses and plantain.
John and Margaret Scrimgeour
Nikau Trust, Dairy, Avocado, Kiwifruit, Forestry
Dairy farmers John and Margaret have diversified their business to include highly successful avocado and kiwifruit orchards.
About 60% of their income now comes from dairying and in 2020 their cows produced just over 140,000kg of milk solids. They are focused on maintaining quality, productive pastures that don’t need continual replacement. As they added more gently contoured land to the property, they established kiwifruit orchards with the fruit now grown across about 15ha of the property producing around about 36,000 trays from 2ha.
Avocado production has averaged about 10,000 trays which supply both local and international markets. Developing an integrated, diversified business contributes to the property’s sustainability, along with careful planning and management.
In the future, further plantings will be completed to enhance the use of the hill sides, and new pest control options tried in the orchards.
Helen Scott, Orchard Manager
Whiritoa Organic and Whiritoa Gold, Kiwifruit
These orchards grow both conventional and organic gold kiwifruit, and led by orchard manager Helen Scott, are striving to leave the land in a better state than it was found, for the enjoyment of future generations. Since purchasing the land, Māori Investments Limited has extensively developed the orchards into healthy, well-performing businesses.
Establishing good drainage and restoring soil health across the orchards has paid off with a lift in production, so they’re harvesting an additional 10,000 trays of kiwifruit per hectare – up to a maximum of 21,000 trays.
Whiritoa is focused on carrying a sustainable, good-quality crop that cares for both land and plants. The team is trialling a mixture of cover crops and using fertigation to ensure the plants get the right nutrients. Employees are trained, upskilled and empowered so their work becomes a career rather than just a job. Fresh vegetables are grown for the whānau to help improve their personal health.
Winston Fleming Trust
Winston took over this Rotorua farm from his father in the 1980s and since then has expanded and developed it into the 210ha property it is today. Hunting possums, dagging sheep, fencing and selling firewood are just some of the ways he made money while transforming Kiwi Outback into a profitable business.
Today, a large portion of the property is leased out for dairy grazing, with Winston supplementing his income by fencing and selling firewood.
Winston started fencing off native bush in 1987 and will soon have 35 areas of reserves, 10 of which are covered by QEII Covenants. In addition, most of the carefully designed paddocks boast shade from native forest. Seven large water tanks and almost 120 concrete water troughs have also been installed.
Possums have almost been eliminated thanks to careful pest management, while reducing waste is another focus as Winston continues to develop the property.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards