14 March 2018
The Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards have been won by a dairy farming company showing a fantastic level of passion, pride and promotion for its industry. David and Brenda Hislop, Mark Daly and Janet Girvan are partners in Medbury Farm Limited – milking 1240 cows on 442ha at Hawarden.
The awards judges said the partners show strong awareness of farming practices and how they influence the environment. “They show excellent attention to detail to business planning, governance and policies and how that influences and drives the business, as well as great staff and people management.”
Medbury Farm will host a field day in mid-June at the Dalzells Road North property. The Medbury Farm board members had completed a governance course before the tragic sudden death of founding farm partner Eric Jacomb (husband of Janet Girvan) in January 2016. As resident equity partners, the Hislops said they wanted to enter the awards to fulfil a wish of Eric’s and show what was good practice, have pride in what they are doing and to counter negative press about the dairy industry.
Over the past 15 years and with the equity involvement of Mark Daly from 2008, the business has developed to two farm dairies and housing for six staff members on the property. The original 50-bale rotary milking 500 cows has been joined by a second farm dairy and the farm business boosted to a carrying capacity of 1240 cows with 300 replacement heifers. It is producing more than 540,000kgMS annually, with yield figures of 1550kgMS/ha and 445kgMS/cow.
An original border-dyke irrigation system using water from the Hurunui River has been upgraded to a more efficient centre-pivot and supplementary sprinkler system. Spray irrigation across the whole property draws on water from Medbury Irrigation Company Limited. Aquaflex soil moisture sensors are also employed to help irrigation management decisions and stock water meters feed information by telemetry to the farm computers.
The judges commended Medbury Farm Limited for its outstanding documentation, health and safety programme, Farm Environment Plan and the five-year Environmental Action Plan.
The farm dairy effluent systems have been showcased by Fonterra to its sustainable dairying advisors. Soil structure is protected by use of stand-off areas in a quarry and in forest areas.
Medbury Farm has fenced and planted its boundaries to the Waitohi and Hurunui Rivers, planted natives around both farm dairies and fenced off some wetlands. Medbury Farm encourages and helps employees on work visas to gain residency and has a touch rugby team entered in the local competition.
As well as the regional supreme award, Medbury Farm won the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Management Award, DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award and Bayleys Canterbury People in Primary Sector Award.
Culverden sheep, beef and dairy support farmers Mark and Jane Schwass, Kaiora Downs, won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award. Nick Gill from Greystone Wines and Muddy Water organic vineyards at Waipara won the Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award. The Massey University Innovation Award was won by farm manager Hayden George from Ngai Tahu Farming Ltd’s Kohakaumu dairy farm at Eyrewell Forest. Farm manager Sam Mallard from Align Emilius Ltd, an Ealing dairy farm, won the WaterForce Integrated Management Award and David Bielski from Craigmore Station won the Predator Free Farm Award.