15 February 2019
When it comes to their efficient dairy farming business, Mathew and Catherine Korteweg live and breathe their value set - tidiness, wellbeing, relationships, professionalism and development.
The latter is a particularly strong focus for the Kortewegs who prioritise a high level of engagement with staff, recognising their individuality and helping them to realise their potential. In their words, “We fit the role to the person, not the other way around”.
Described by this year’s judges as a motivated young couple, with a true passion for dairy farming, the dynamic duo is running an operation that thrives on data and production analysis, and their numbers speak volumes.
The Kortewegs are in their fifth season of 30% sharemilking 550 cows on The Crescent Farm, producing 442-475 kgMS/cow, and in their second season contract milking 520 cows at Raumati Farm. Both are part of their business Leneva Farm Ltd. The Kortewegs are working towards 50/50 sharemilking and have focused on building equity within timeframes they constantly review and challenge.
The excellent welfare of their animals owes to both the practice and the people involved. Of the former, the judges noted the Kortewegs have a clear set of goals and targets to reach in their farming operation. Two wintering barns are used over an extended winter period, with the key goals being excellent animal welfare and also protecting soil structure during wet weather. Additionally, pasture harvesting is maximised at all times which ensures the cows on both farms produce well.
Of the people who help the operation thrive, the judges noted the inspiring bond and dynamic between team members. The Kortewegs have taken the time to articulate their goals and progress, and these are shared openly with their staff and network of professional advisors.
Five staff members are employed by Leneva Farm Ltd and each member is recognised as an individual that makes up a strong team.
In turn, this team is united in its commitment to meeting operational goals - social, economic, and of course, environmental. Of the latter, the judges noted several points - a shared sense of pride over the appearance of the property; the protection of a native tree area on The Crescent Farm, populated by mature totara and kowhai that has great potential for further enhancement; good use of stormwater diversion; and a high level of understanding demonstrated by the Kortewegs in relation to their soils - fertility and type - which ensures the soil structure is protected at all times.
The Kortewegs are in the process of preparing a Farm Environment Plan (FEP) and a key focus is to feed the soil biology by adding fish and seaweed products.
Of entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards the couple comments, “We are the kind of farmers who are happy to showcase what we do to the wider industry and public. We are passionate about telling farming stories and the awards are a good way to do this. It helps having fresh eyes look over the business to determine if there is anything we can tweak moving forward. The judging process provides real benefit and it is an honour to be a finalist.”
Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award