High-Performing Sheep Operation Wins Award
High-Performing Sheep Operation Wins Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards
Kaituna sheep and beef farmers Matt and Lynley Wyeth are Supreme winners of the 2014 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Judges said the couple’s 800ha (effective) farming operation, Spring Valley Enterprises, was exceptionally well run.
“This is an extremely high performing business with a defined aim to stay in the top 10 percent of equivalent farming operations.”
At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 16, Matt and Lynley also collected the Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award.
The Wyeths farm a total of 1000ha on two properties west of Masterton. They run 12,500 stock units on hill country that includes about 500ha of steeper contour.
The home block, 737ha Spring Valley, is owned by Matt and Lynley and sits on the boundary of the Tararua State Forest. Another 250ha is leased.
Matt managed Spring Valley for his parents for a year then sharefarmed with them for two years before he and Lynley purchased the farm in 2001.
With a heavy focus on breeding and finishing sheep, Spring Valley Enterprises wintered 6850 ewes and 2500 hoggets last year, along with 220 breeding cows and replacement heifers, 200 R1 cattle and 150 R2 cattle. In addition, about 2500 ewe lambs are also farmed on contract on other family properties.
Judges said the health and quality of stock is a real highlight of the operation.
They were impressed with the complex level of monitoring of both stock and pasture on the property, noting the couple’s willingness to set new boundaries and embrace new technology.
EID is used extensively, and all facets of the operation are comprehensively analysed.
Lambing dates are staggered over a five-week period to reduce the risk of loss in bad weather while also spreading the workload during lambing, docking and weaning. Triplet-bearing ewes are lambed undercover to improve lamb survivability.
Judges also noted the “impressive utilisation and management of plantain” on the farm.
Matt and Lynley run the operation with the help of Simon Johnston and Andrew McKay. Judges said the Wyeths clearly have strong respect for their staff. All team members have an equal passion for the property and this creates a strong team ethic.
They also praised the Wyeths’ care for their environment and their commitment to enhancing biodiversity. Rock screes on the steeper contour are carefully managed, and riparian and other sensitive areas have been protected and planted. A 2.5ha wetland is covered by a QEII National Trust covenant.
Currently a Beef+Lamb New Zealand demonstration farm, Spring Valley has been a finalist in the ‘Glammie’ awards for the last three years. The Wyeths, who have two sons, also won the Best Livestock Farm Award in the 2004 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
“Matt and Lynley are hugely committed to the success of Spring Valley but they are also committed to the success of sheep meat production in New Zealand,” judges said.
A BFEA field day will be held on the Supreme-award winning farm, with the date to be advised.
Winners in the 2014 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards were;
Supreme award, Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Massey University Innovation Award, PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award; Matt and Lynley Wyeth, Spring Valley Enterprises, Kaituna.
Greater Wellington Regional Council - Akura Conservation Centre Lifestyle Farm/Small Block Award; Heinrich and Gerlinde Bolliger, Watermill Bakery, Carterton.
Waterforce Integrated Management Award; Bryan and Jenny Tucker, Greytown.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award; Lloyd and Kerri-Ann Rayner, Featherston.
LIC Dairy Farm Award, Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award, Meridian Energy Excellence Award; Henry, Dorothy and Jason Christensen, Masterton.