15 February 2019
The adage ‘you are the company you keep’ rings true in all the best ways with Duncan and Kerralie Falconer. Supported by a network of trusted advisers; efficient contractors; and Duncan’s parents, the Falconers have built a robust dynamic with a lot of knowledge and expertise dedicated to their cause, including a sheep shearer who has been contracting to the farm for 45 years.
Craigie Glen is a classic family farm that has grown and evolved thanks to inspiration and integrity over time. Parcels of land were progressively purchased, and added onto it, to make the property what it is today; often these new blocks were poor and undeveloped, but they are thriving thanks to the Falconers’ leadership.
Their vision is simply, but significantly, to create a sustainable sheep and beef finishing business that can be inherited by the next generation if they choose to do so. The Falconers’ commitment to their property was clear to the judges, as was their drive to improve production.
Developments over the years have made the property easy to manage in terms of its pasture and stock. The stock run on the property includes 5500 sheep - Wairere Romney and Texel Suffolk, as well as 125 R1 heifers. The judges observed good livestock weight and health, and the presence of an animal health plan, ensuring performance, is always being challenged.
From a growing perspective, winter crops of fodder beet have flourished the last two years, as well as swede and Chou Moellier. The Falconers also make around 450 bales of baleage for wintering the sheep.
Duncan likes to focus on development from the ground up, doing things well the first time. This starts with their soils - the team has comprehensive understanding of the different types and makes allowances where needed. An extensive soil testing regime, and the development of a nutrient budget, are just two of the ways soils are managed. Tiles and Novaflo are utilised to get the drainage right before focusing on soil nutrient levels.
Duncan’s mother, Evelyn, and sister, Janice, breathe life into the property through their own endeavours. They grow natives in their glasshouse that are then used on the property in shelter belts and in wetland/pond areas, which represents an important part of the farm’s ongoing commitment to being environmentally conscious.
Duncan, Kerralie and their boys thought the awards presented a good opportunity to benchmark themselves. “You get a lot of feedback from the judges to refine what you are doing. With farming - and it is the same for us - you are always working towards the next thing. But it’s actually more valuable for the judges to see your farm as a work in progress, than to come along to something completed, so they can offer direction.”
Waterforce Integrated Management Award
The Plant Store Farm Planting and Design Award