15 February 2019
The amazing family bond that Adrian and Pauline Ball have with their children was never more evident than following their recent win at the 2019 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Named this year’s Regional Supreme Winners, the Balls say of the experience, “For our daughters to experience the awards has brought a deeper understanding of the long sustainable journey our family has been on.”
The Balls’ clear definition and commitment to core business values have created the foundations for an enterprise with integrity, direction, and substance. This is a fact well-evidenced by the day-to-day reality of Dennley Farms.
The business’ tagline is ‘creating value inside the farm gate’ and there is sustainable value on this farm - in environmental, social and economic respects - as far as the eye can see. Active in the creation of meaningful industry change, and driven to improve consumer perception of the sector, their effective leadership culminates in measurable results.
The Balls’ early adoption of technology demonstrates an active intention to run a business that has science, logic and continuous innovation at its heart. Long-term plans are to fine-tune farm-grown feed requirements, trial crops and practices that reduce the farm’s footprint further year-on-year, introduce more energy-saving and cost-effective infrastructure to the asset base, and maintain growth across the dairy platform and beef breeding enterprise.
Aspiring to model low input, low footprint, high animal welfare values, the Balls have achieved best practice agronomy to optimise crop and animal yields without compromising environmental health. Dennley Farms has several initiatives and features in place. These include working closely with nutrient suppliers to ensure fertilisers are applied at appropriate times and ensuring soil testing is undertaken on pasture and cropped land annually.
The cropping and finishing farm runs along the side of the Waihou River, which is treated with respect. To that end, fencing setbacks are 20m plus, to allow for revegetation of the river banks. The dry stock farm is 100% off the grid using solar power, a deep well water supply, and solar electric fencing. The pond areas on the dairy farm are hotspots for biodiversity and provide a great habitat for frogs and many waterfowl species.
Of entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Adrian comments, “It is always good to hear other people’s opinions about what you are doing. We have been involved with the industry for a while now, and it’s good to be positive and share our story. You never feel like you are ‘ready’ but having an understanding of the issues and options is important, and the awards offer that opportunity.”
Adrian says being the recipient of the Regional Supreme Award brings with it “fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of environmental and regulatory issues amongst peers.
“The awards have certainly made us both think a lot deeper into the future of our own business and what it would take to influence and help the pasture-based meat and dairy sectors grow consumer trust and ultimately grow value. They have highlighted to us the need to not be individuals in this vision but to take other farmers on the journey.”
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award
Massey University Innovation Award
Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award
2019 Waikato Regional Supreme Winner