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Bay Of Plenty BFEA Regional Supreme Winners Announced

Te Puke beef farmers Blair Linton, Linda Ellison and Robert Linton of Te Ranga Farms take out the Regional Supreme Award at the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The family behind Te Ranga Farms is focused on optimising the farming system, while protecting and enhancing its natural beauty and freshwater.

The 296ha (176ha effective) farm has been in the Linton family since 1973. Since the early 1980s, it has been owned and managed by Robert Linton and Linda Ellison. Since 2022, their son Blair Linton has leased the property, continuing the same farming system.

The team is currently rearing just over 500 Friesian bull calves on the Te Puke property. The judges were impressed with the farming system which has been optimised over time to match land use and class. Animal numbers and stock type are carefully managed to match the pasture growth curve.

Decisions are driven by data from a wide range of sources, ensuring the family has a complete picture of the farm. Supporting this is a strict adherence to clear, measurable key performance indicators around such things as calf weight and feeding plans.

When it comes to the environment, protecting freshwater is a high priority. The family’s approach aligns with that of the wider catchment – reflecting their active involvement in the Paraiti Catchment Group. The farm’s critical water source areas are being actively identified and managed.

In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted that the family’s successful operation is underpinned by a family approach to gaining knowledge, appreciating their environment and their sense of place within it, open and productive communication, and connection to a supportive community.

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Blair Linton, Linda Ellison & Robert Linton also won the following awards:

• Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award

• Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award

• Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award

• NZFET Biodiversity Award

Other Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Award winners include:

Kiri Tapsell, Pukenga Farms, Te Puke

• Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award

• Norwood Farming Efficiency Award

• Zespri Kiwifruit Orchard Award

Mark Yortt & Greg Prince— Sunchaser Investments, Motiti Island

• Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award

• FMG Risk Management Award

Murray & Cecilia Winters and Chris & Karly Deed — Mangorewa Farms, Te Puke

• Bruce Fraser Memorial Award

Jonathon Boyle — Four Oaks Farm, Pongakawa

• DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award

• Bay of Plenty Regional Council Farming for the Future Award

The awards also served to showcase local catchment group Paraiti Catchment Care Group, which is a farmer-led group working to increase native biodiversity along an established bush corridor and the wider Kaituna catchment. Since forming in 2020, the group has largely focused on protecting the area’s significant native forests from pests and predators, ultimately aiming to boost biodiversity.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are run by the NZ Farm Environment Trust and champion sustainable farming and growing. The Supreme Winner from each of the eleven regions involved in the awards will go through to be considered for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the Trust’s National Showcase in Hamilton in June. The recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy then become 2024’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing.

© Scoop Media

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