The first regional dinner has been held for the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The East Coast awards, covering the geographic area of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council, were announced in Gisborne on Thursday. It’s the fourth year of the awards but the first time hosted by Gisborne.
Well done to all those who entered…. and (drum roll please) the winners were Rob and Sandra Faulkner and Bruce and Jo Graham from the 600ha property, Wairakaia, which can be found on both sides of SH2 at Muriwai, south of Gisborne.
The Faulkner/Graham partnership also collected the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and The East Coast Farming For The Future Award (as sponsored by the two councils).
Wairakaia is a sheep, beef and cropping operation, running about 5000 stock units on contour that ranges from flat to very steep and growing about 190ha of maize, squash and seed corn on owned and leased land. The business also has 32ha of forestry, 10ha of citrus and 1ha of tree Lucerne, along with a poplar nursery that sells around 1000 poles annually as well as supplying 200 each year for their own use.
BFEA judges noted the farm’s high-producing, quality stock and good mix of genetics. The cropping programme has been successfully integrated with stock finishing and the operation achieves consistent crop yields, with the inclusion of citrus providing increased diversity.
Judges also noted the excellent pasture and soil management and the consideration given to effects on both land and water.
The farm was originally settled by Rob and Jo’s great-grand parents in 1900. Subsequent generations of the family planted trees for agroforestry, erosion control and aesthetics and this foresight is acknowledged and appreciated by Rob and Jo and their spouses, Sandra and Bruce.
While all partners contribute to the running of the business, Rob and Bruce form the core working partnership. BFEA judges praised the structure of the business which enables the family to maintain its partnership “during intense development and off-farm activities at national, regional and local levels”.
Sandra, a 2012 Nuffield scholar, is heavily involved in agri-politics and Jo teaches at Gisborne Girls’ High School.
Bruce and Jo have two daughters, Amanda (12) and Nicki (10). Rob and Sandra have two sons, William (10) and George (8).
A field day will be held on Wairakaia on Thursday 27 March.
Other winners were:
Meridian Energy Excellence Award; Art and Jill Eastham, Te Kowhai Station, Whatatutu.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award; Bruce Nimon, Kokako Vineyard, Hastings.
PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award; Richard and Robyn Busby, Makorori Station, Whangara.
WaterForce Integrated Management Award; Leicester and Margaret Gray and Callum and Sarah Gray, Waipawa.
Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award; Tom and Linda Savage, Poututu Station Partnership, Te Karaka.
LIC Dairy Merit Award; Dave and Tracey Thompson, Te Repo Farms, Takapau.