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

 

Decision to Enter Ballance Farm Environment Awards Pays Off

If you're having problems viewing this page click here to view via internet.

Wednesday, 12th September 2012

Decision to Enter Ballance Farm Environment Awards Pays Off


Click for big version.

Frank Portegys almost didn’t enter the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he felt his family-owned dairy farm wasn’t ready.

He can see the irony in this because as a former fertiliser and dairy farm consultant he’d often encouraged other people to enter in the past. He’d even been a judge for the competition.

“So I’ve heard the excuses about the farm not being ready. I’ve always wanted to enter the Awards but we are only in our fifth season here and our riparian plantings are in the very early stages, so I was a little hesitant at the start.”

However, Frank and his wife Wendy eventually overcame this reluctance to enter the 2012 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). They were glad they did as their Tauwhare farm, north of Cambridge, was awarded the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Ballance Nutrient Management Award.

The LIC Dairy Farm Award recognises dairy farmers who demonstrate “in a practical way the choices that have been made to farm for the long term”. Judges take into account decisions made around the wise use of land, labour and the capital resource available or created. “Increasingly the effects of dairy farming on both surface and groundwater and its impact on soil properties are factors the judges will consider”.

BFEA judges described the Portegys’ 140ha (135ha effective) farm as “a very well-run low-input dairy farm”.

The farm is jointly owned by Frank and Wendy, Ben and Justine Cameron, and Rachel and Chresten Davis (Wendy, Ben and Rachel are siblings) under the ‘Braemar Lands’ name. It milks about 378 cows at the peak and runs a split calving system – with one third of the herd calved in autumn and the rest in spring. Last season the farm produced 137,000kg of Milksolids.

Up until buying the farm, Frank hadn’t milked cows since university. Though his extensive agribusiness experience has been valuable, he found the switch to practical farming quite challenging at first and still considers himself a learner.

So winning the LIC Dairy Farm Award was a “very pleasant surprise” because it confirmed the farm was on track as far as sustainability goes.

“I don’t think we are doing anything special here. We have just stuck to the basics and tried to do everything right when it comes to the soils, the animals, the people and the environment in general.”

Frank says BFEA judges provided excellent feedback on the farm and made many useful suggestions.

He says judging was conducted in a non-threatening manner.

“It was just a matter of having a yak as you walk around the farm.”

In their judging report, BFEA judges noted the Portegys family had made a good start to the farm’s riparian planting programme.

Frank says he has been on many farms with mature bush and extensive riparian plantings.

“It’s hard to compare these farms with those that have just started, but the important thing the judges are looking for is planning.”

He says farmers who want advice on riparian planting and other issues should definitely enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

“It’s a great way of getting plenty of free advice. You’ve got nothing to lose by getting involved.”

Entries for the 2013 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards are now open and entry forms can be downloaded from the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust website at www.nzfeatrust.org.nz

or visit web www.bfea.org.nz

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 


Reserve Bank: A least regrets approach to uncertainty

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua makes decisions about official interest rates in a way that is robust in the face of uncertainty about the economy, Reserve Bank Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby says in a speech published today*... More>>




Shocking Stuff: Lower Income Areas Paying More For Power

Analysis from Consumer NZ and Powerswitch has found major differences in electricity pricing depending on where you live, with those in lower income areas being hit the hardest... More>>



Science Media Centre: Understanding DDoS cyber attacks – Expert Reaction

Cyber attacks have hit several New Zealand organisations this month, disrupting their online services. The Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were the same kind of cyber attack that affected the NZX around this time last year... More>>



Statistics: GDP rises in the June 2021 quarter

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 2.8 percent in the June 2021 quarter, following a 1.4 percent increase in the March 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. June 2021 quarter GDP was 4.3 percent higher when compared with the December 2019 quarter... More>>


Energy-from-waste: $350 Million Plant To Deliver Renewable Energy Considered

Investigations have begun into the viability of building an Energy-from-Waste plant that will safely convert 350,000 tonnes of waste, that would otherwise be dumped into South Island landfills annually, into renewable electricity... More>>

Olam: Confirms plans for commissioning of NZ dairy plant

OFI, a global leader in natural and sustainable food ingredient solutions, today confirmed plans to develop a new dairy processing facility at Tokoroa. It is now taking expressions of interest from potential farmer suppliers, employees, contractors, and general trade suppliers... More>>