Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Strong conservation values evident

Strong conservation values evident in Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Manaia dairy farmers showing sustainable and appreciable biodiversity and conservation values have won the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Grant, Dinny and Leedom Gibbs from the Gibbs G Trust were announced supreme winners at the region’s awards dinner at the Devon Hotel in New Plymouth on Thursday night (March 22). They will host a field day on their Sutherland Road property on Thursday April 5 at 10.30am.

The dairy farm, 3km south of Manaia on the south Taranaki coast, is among those supervised by Leedom Gibbs, one of Grant and Dinny’s three daughters. Half of the farm is irrigated with two centre-pivots and contains a wetland that was established as part of the farm’s development. Water for the irrigation system is taken by consent from the Waiokura Stream and stock water comes from the Waimate West Water Scheme, on which Grant is a trustee.

The irrigation development was in the early 2000s in conjunction with a neighbouring farm and includes meters, dataloggers and telemetry to the Taranaki Regional Council. The irrigation adds considerable sustainability to a summer-dry coastal property and is used solely on pasture. The judges said the property contains an abundance of tree species chosen specifically to reflect their coastal environment.

All rivers, streams and drains have been fenced and riparian zone planting is almost finished. The Gibbs’ dairy farm at Manaia has a contract milker and milks 435 cows at a stocking rate of 3.56 cows per hectare. The herd produced 166,000kg milksolids last season with yield figures of 1360kg/ha and 393kg/cow.

Milking switches to once-a-day after Christmas to ensure feed demand matches pasture growth especially in the dry summers such as the one being experienced this season. OAD also helps the lifestyle for the contractor’s family.

Leedom Gibbs and her contract milker showed good understanding of pasture management with post-grazing residuals of 1,500kgDM/ha while using the three-leaf principle to determine pre-grazing targets. The farm is System 2 dairying, being approximately 10 percent supplementary feeding, with help from the irrigation for the pasture growth.

The business has eight years of Dairybase records to compare against other System 2 farms. The records show the Gibbs farm has a strong control of expenses, currently sitting at $2.90/kg MS. Rural professionals such as the farm accountant and fertiliser representatives are used for information, advice and as sounding boards. The aim is to use 200 units/ha of nitrogen annually.

The effluent consent is for a three-pond oxidation system to discharge to water but this discharge consent aspect is not used. Instead contractors are used to periodically spread the effluent slurry to land as it is considered too valuable to waste. This made good use of the nitrogen and potassium in the effluent and the potassium levels were then reflected in the good clover content of pastures. The potential for cliff erosion on the sea boundary has been recognised and plans and plantings made to mitigate it. The judges said the Gibbs farm was an impressive business built on an extremely tidy and functional property.

Succession was off to a strong start with the plan to build a formal governance structure in the form of potentially a board involving all three daughters.

As well as the regional supreme award, the Gibbs won the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award and the Taranaki Regional Council Sustainability Award. Stratford dairy farmers Daryl and Karyn Johnson, Dakm Farms, won the CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Management Award, the Predator Free Farm Award and the Farmlands People in Agriculture Award. Tarata sheep and beef farmers Hans and Stephanie Michel, Tersana Farm, won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, Massey University Innovation Award and the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards Committee Farm Stewardship Award.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Budget Policy Statement: 'Wellbeing Of NZers At The Heart Of Budget Priorities'

“We want a wellbeing focus to drive the decisions we make about Government policies and Budget initiatives. This means looking beyond traditional measures - such as GDP - to a wider set of indicators of success,” Grant Robertson said. More>>


Short Of 2017 Record: Insurers Pay $226m Over Extreme Weather

Insurers have spent more than $226 million this year helping customers recover from extreme weather, according to data from the Insurance Council of NZ (ICNZ). More>>

Environment Commissioner: Transparent Overseer Needed To Regulate Water Quality

Overseer was originally developed as a farm management tool to calculate nutrient loss but is increasingly being used by councils in regulation... “Confidence in Overseer can only be improved by opening up its workings to greater scrutiny.” More>>


Deal Now Reached: Air NZ Workers Vote To Strike

Last week union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in response to the company’s low offer and requests for cuts to sick leave and overtime. More>>