14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Tim & Rach Phillips of Waipa Meadow - Dairy
Creative thinking and hard work on this farm have enabled the owner-operators to make big improvements without a big price-tag. Their measured approach to solving problems and dealing with challenges has led to some impressive achievements on this Otorohanga dairy farm.
Tim and Rach entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because they were keen to share their creative ideas – often implemented on a small budget.
The property runs 280 cows, with most of the day-to-day management carried out by a contract milker. The couple has worked together to overcome difficult challenges, for example when they needed to reduce the large amount of groundwater flowing into an underpass. The judges were impressed with their innovative solution where the new effluent infrastructure keeps groundwater fully separate from underpass effluent.
All bases are covered with sound business practices and this has led to both excellent production and farm profitability. The judges commended Tim and Rach’s measured and considered approach to solving problems and dealing with challenges, and were also impressed with their social and community involvement. This includes connecting with local iwi and travelling to Sri Lanka to help with an agricultural project.
Land ownership is regarded as a privilege and, as current owners, Tim and Rach see themselves as stewards of the property’s present and future. They put a lot of time and effort into protecting and enhancing their environment that includes a 1ha stand of native kahikatea protected by a QEII National Trust Covenant.
Waipa Meadow features 1.5km of native riparian plantings, with biodiversity further enhanced with beehives and possum trapping. There is minimal use of nitrogen fertiliser thanks to often creative thinking. For example, 200 tonnes of goat manure was recently applied in order to add humus and organic matter to the soil, along with the slow release of nitrogen and potassium.