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Methven arable farmers scoop water efficiency award

April 5, 2013

Methven arable farmers scoop water efficiency award

Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie have been recognised for their water efficient practices at the recent Canterbury Regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The couple were presented on March 21 with the Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award by Environment Canterbury Chair Dame Margaret Bazley at an event in Christchurch.

The award recognised the couple’s excellent use of technology to ensure crops’ specific water requirements are met.

Their 200ha intensive irrigated arable operation, which grows radish, chicory, wheat, ryegrass, fescue, barley and faba beans, was also awarded the Supreme Regional Award.

The Mackenzies’ Greenvale property utilises state of the art technology to maximise production in a sustainable manner. Electromagnetic soil mapping allows a clear picture of water holding and productive capacity within specific zones. The introduction of variable rate irrigation on centre pivots on the arable farm this season has increased productivity and saved up to 50 per cent of water use.

The judges described the crop rotations on Greenvale as “simple and effective” and commended the use of technology ensuring “they never over-water any crop”.

The judges also praised Craige and Roz’s strategic use of irrigation to ensure maximum seed germination at sowing, as well as their increased nitrogen use efficiency. Their use of Variable Rate Irrigation on pivot also saves 28-34% of irrigation water through that irrigator.

The Mackenzie’s also won the Water Efficiency award in 2010, proving their dedication to sustainable and profitable production is on-going.

“It is very important to be positively sharing what we do, farmers need to be profitable in the long-term and that means making sure we all look after the land and keep input costs down,” said Roz Mackenzie.

Dame Margaret Bazley said the efficient use of water is a key focus for the region, as reflected in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

“The Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award reflects the strategic importance of the natural resource to Canterbury and its economy.

“It recognises the benefits of measuring water inputs, and using the information to make good water use decisions.

“Environment Canterbury is committed to working with farmers and the community to help support efficient and sustainable water management practices.

“On behalf of the Environment Canterbury Commissioners, I congratulate all the entrants in these awards, and particularly Craige and Roz, for their leadership in this area,” she said.

Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award – Canterbury

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are designed to encourage farmers to support and adopt sustainable farming practices.

The Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award reflects the strategic importance of the natural resource to Canterbury and its economy.

The focus of the award is on water efficiency and in particular the efficient use of water on either dryland or irrigated farms.

To be considered for the award, entrants need to demonstrate they are measuring water inputs, and are using this information to make good water use decisions. Environmental considerations and innovation are also considered.

For more information on the awards overall and the 2013 winners, go to www.bfea.org.nz

ENDS

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