Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Farm Environment Comp Confirms Berry Growers on Right Path

Farm Environment Competition Confirms Berry Growers on Right Path

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards provided Bay of Plenty orchardists Ben and Heidi Rosewarne with the perfect opportunity to review the direction of their business.

And they were pleased they did.

In the 2013 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) - their first attempt at the competition – they picked up two category awards, as well as lots of free advice.

“It never hurts to take a good hard look at your business,” says Ben.

“For us, being involved in the competition helped us to confirm we were on the right track with what we were doing.”

The Rosewarnes run Blueberry Corner, a berry growing and retail business based just north of Whakatane. After recently expanding their operation they now grow about 6ha of blueberries, 1ha of strawberries and .5ha of raspberries.

A few years ago they made some significant changes to the growing side of their business, changing plant varieties and switching to biological practices.

As a result of these changes they now use less pesticide on the property, fruit quality has improved and yields have increased.

“It’s hard to say by how much our tonnages have risen”, says Ben, “because Mother Nature always holds the last cards on that one. But what has impressed me the most is the big increase in worm activity around the plants, and that is a very positive sign.”

Soil and leaf testing is an important component of the Rosewarne’s growing system. Regular testing helps to determine exactly what nutrients are needed. Organic fertilisers are then applied to the leaves rather than the soil.

BFEA judges awarded Blueberry Corner the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award. This award recognises farmers who are mainly involved in growing crops (for example, grain, seed, viticulture and horticulture) but also encompasses livestock farmers who demonstrate excellent pasture and soil management. This category considers the effect the farming system has on the land resource in the present and in the long term. Nutrient use and any impact the system may have on the water resource is also taken into account, and judges look for evidence that formal monitoring or measuring of the effects of the growing system is being performed. A good understanding of weed and pest management is also required.

Ben and Heidi were pleased to win this award because it provides a good endorsement of their growing system. They also picked up the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award – a reflection of their people management ethos and community involvement.

Ben says entering the competition was relatively easy and it proved to be a rewarding process.

“Doing the paperwork was a really good exercise for us because it made us sit down and take a look at what we were doing and where we were going.”

He admits to being a little nervous as he and Heidi awaited the arrival of the judges. But they were quickly put at ease.

“The judging process was pretty relaxed and the judges made some very good points. I think we got a lot out of it and we’d certainly be keen to have another crack in future.”

Ben says he and Heidi would recommend the competition to other famers or growers.

“It’s definitely worth going along for the ride.”

Entries for the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened on August 1, 2013. Entry forms are available at www.bfea.org.nz

More information on the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, including regional closing dates, is available on the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust website.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Our Weird Ways Of Funding Care For The Dying

National Party leader Judith Collins thinks the government’s traffic light system for emerging from Covid lockdowns is “confusing.” Perhaps she could be looking in the mirror because in recent weeks, National has hardly been a model of crystalline clarity. On RNZ this morning Collins was calling for the scrapping of all vaccine certificates and mandates once we hit 90% double dose vaccination. Yet in recent weeks, Chris Bishop, National’s Covid spokesperson has been indicating that vaccine certificates and employment mandates will be, and should be, part of our new Covid landscape... More>>

Covid-19: Two Cases Notified In Christchurch Last Evening

The Ministry of Health was notified last evening of two positive COVID-19 cases in Christchurch from the same household. One member of the household had recently returned to Christchurch from Auckland. The local public health unit is gathering information from the cases to identify close contacts and exposure events, including any locations of interest... More>>


Government: Considers Regulatory Safeguards For Three Waters Services
Public feedback is being sought on the regulatory safeguards required to ensure consumers and communities receive three waters services that meet their needs, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, Dr David Clark announced today... More>>

Three Waters: Government To Protect Vital Public Water Services For Future Generations
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta today confirmed the Government will create four publicly owned water entities to ensure every New Zealander has access to affordable, long-lasting drinking, waste and storm water infrastructure... More>>


Government: Responds To Independent Review Into WorkSafe

The Government has clear expectations that WorkSafe must action the recommendations of the independent review into the regulator to improve its management of adventure activities following the tragedy at Whakaari White Island, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says... More>>

Government: First Step In Managed Isolation Changes; Expanding QFT With Pacific

The Government is starting a phased easing of border restrictions that will see the time spent in an MIQ facility halved for fully vaccinated overseas arrivals from 14 November and home isolation introduced in the first quarter of 2022 at the latest, Chris Hipkins said today... More>>





InfoPages News Channels