15 April 2020
Here are our wonderful 2020 entrants for the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards. We congratulate them all for becoming involved in the awards programme - it's a privilege to have learned more about their food and fibre production businesses.
Alan and Khim Hellyer, Mahoenui Farm — Wainui
Sheep & beef
A life-long dedication to farming is paying off at this third-generation farm that has Alan Hellyer at the helm.
Alan has overseen development of the property as it has been transformed from scrub land to grass. Breeding stock are run on hills and other animals fattened on flat land that is interspersed with mature native bush in gullies and steep slopes.
Improvements on the farm have resulted in 45ha of native bush and radiata pines, plus seven recently retired and planted wetlands. The use of fertiliser is carefully managed, while water is pumped to water troughs for the animals.
There is a strong commitment to involving family in management of the farm as it is carefully nurtured to carry them into the future.
Mathew & Sarah Bolton, Oete Goat Farm — Patumahoe
Over the past six years, the Boltons have established an exemplar goat farming operation that combines profitability with a broadly sustainable approach.
The transformation of the Auckland property has been guided by a dual focus on producing high-quality products while reducing the farm’s environmental impact. A farm manager and nine fulltime staff are seen as critical to the success of this goat farming operation that involves pasture being cut and carried daily to feed 2,500 milking goats.
Sustainability and innovation are at the core of this business, with the Boltons embracing challenges, continually reassessing systems and enhancing biodiversity. They see their sustainable and eco-friendly farming approach as a way to safeguard the land for both themselves and future generations.
Auckland Council, Te Rau Puriri Regional Park — South Head
Sheep & beef
The people behind farming this beautiful Auckland regional park are aspiring to balance profitability with minimal environmental impact.
Auckland Council owns the property, with achievements including the protection of the environment, and geological and cultural sites. A large wetland is to be retired that will boost biodiversity and filter water entering Kaipara Harbour, while pastures have been significantly improved.
A concept plan is currently being created for this largely undeveloped regional park, with it likely to include large areas of open space that are maintained through livestock grazing.
Management of the farm shows leadership in the areas of innovation, stock health, a clear strategy and capital commitment to ensure efforts are built on in future.
Keith & Jenny Trotter — Matakana
Keith and Jenny have farmed this property for 27 years and their hard work and devotion is evident in terms of both infrastructure and production.
They run 400 high-producing dairy cows and are transitioning to autumn calving. The property’s infrastructure has been greatly enhanced over the years, including a new dairy shed, feed pad, and silage and dry-store bunkers.
There’s a strong focus on animal health, renovating pasture, improving drainage and soil fertility, and biodiversity. Wetlands have been created, native bush and waterways fenced off and there has been significant planting around streams that run through challenging terrain.
The care and dedication shown to the farm is mirrored in the community, with the Trotters being involved in extensive community work.