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


Team-Focused Dairy Business Takes Top Title in Taranaki

Team-Focused Dairy Business Takes Top Title in Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Eltham dairy farmers Mark and Jacqui Muller and their manager Conrad Maeke are the Supreme Winners of the 2015 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

They received the award at a BFEA ceremony on March 19. Mark, Jacqui and Conrad also collected the LIC Dairy Farm Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award.

The Muller’s business, Gardiner Partnership, is based on 212ha of family land west of Eltham in the Mangatoki district. The operation milks up to 618 cows on a 167ha milking platform, achieving production well ahead of the district average.

With the help of 2IC Michael Stratton and Bradley Wilson, the “cohesive farm team” produced almost 294,000kg of MS last season.

BFEA judges said good planning, an excellent team culture and “a long-term passion for the farm” were key factors in this success.

“This is a very well developed farm which is immaculately presented.”

Judges were particularly impressed with the “outstanding” team approach to pasture management. A pasture management programme, which has been developed with the help of consultant Greg O’Bryne, makes good use of new grass species and crops.

“Pasture management is a feature of this property, farm walks are regular and grazing rounds are determined by the number of days it takes from grazing to the third leaf stage” judges said.

Crops are well planned and utilised, and there is a “good practical understanding of the impact of cows on soil and resources”.

Cows are run in two herds according to age and condition. About 200 cows are wintered on a 35ha run-off and the rest stay on the farm.

Judges said the Mullers have an excellent understanding of their business systems and profitability, and a very good relationship with external professionals.

They also noted the couple’s desire to keep the farm in family ownership, which already spans 100 years.

All waterways have been fenced and planted, and shelterbelts have been established for protection against the prevailing westerly wind.

Mark is a stalwart of the local rugby club and a former Taranaki representative. He and Jacqui have two daughters and a son. Conrad Maeke is in his fourth season with the Mullers. He and partner Natalie Rupapera have a daughter and twin sons.

A BFEA field-day will be held on the Supreme award-winning farm on Thursday, April 16.

Winners in the 2015 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:

Supreme award, LIC Dairy Farm Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Massey University Innovation Award and PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award: Mark and Jacqui Muller, Gardiner Partnership, and Conrad Maeke, Eltham.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Beef and Lamb NZ Livestock Award and WaterForce Integrated Management Award: Sami and Laura Werder, Awatea Farm, Huiroa.

Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award and Taranaki Regional Council Sustainability Award: Scott and Julayne Thompson, Ngamatapouri Land Company Ltd, Waitotara.

For more information on the 2015 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact Claire Hunn, BFEA regional co-ordinator, phone 027 254 9548 or email


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Stats NZ: Consents For New Homes At All-Time High

A record 41,028 new homes have been consented in the year ended March 2021, Stats NZ said today. The previous record for the annual number of new homes consented was 40,025 in the year ended February 1974. “Within 10 years the number of new homes ... More>>

Stats NZ: Unemployment Declines As Underutilisation Rises

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 4.7 percent in the March 2021 quarter, continuing to fall from its recent peak of 5.2 percent in the September 2020 quarter but remaining high compared with recent years, Stats NZ said today. ... More>>


Digitl: The Story Behind Vodafone’s FibreX Court Ruling

Vodafone’s FibreX service was in the news this week. What is the story behind the Fair Trading Act court case? More>>

Reserve Bank: Concerned About New Zealand's Rising House Prices

New Zealand house prices have risen significantly in the past 12 months. This has raised concerns at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Putea Matua about the risk this poses to financial stability. Central banks responded swiftly to the global ... More>>

Westpac: Announces Strong Financial Result

Westpac New Zealand (Westpac NZ) [i] says a strong half-year financial result has been driven by better than expected economic conditions. Chief Executive David McLean said while the global COVID-19 pandemic was far from over, the financial effect on ... More>>

MYOB: SME Confidence In Economic Performance Still Cautious

New insights from the annual MYOB Business Monitor have shown the SME sector is still cautious about the potential for further economic recovery, with two-in-five (41%) expecting the New Zealand economy to decline this year. The latest research ... More>>