14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Keith & Jenny Trotter - dairy.
Keith and Jenny Trotter have been farming this Warkworth property for 27 years and their hard work and devotion is evident in terms of both infrastructure and production. In addition, the farm’s biodiversity is a credit to this couple – as is their extensive community involvement.
The Trotters entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because they were keen to share the improvements they have made to the farm, plus wanted guidance on continuing to improve their farming practices.
They run 400 high-producing dairy cows on the 140ha farm and are currently transitioning to autumn calving. The Trotters have significantly improved the property’s infrastructure since they took over, building a new dairy shed, feed pad, and silage and dry-store bunkers. There has also been a strong focus on renovating pasture, and improving drainage and soil fertility, with the judges commending them on the many aspects they have enhanced over the years.
The judges were impressed with the property’s biodiversity and how pests and weeds are being managed. Wetlands have been created, native bush and waterways fenced off and there has been significant planting around streams that run through challenging terrain.
There is a strong focus on animal health, including the close monitoring and testing of cows, while regular soil testing helps to ensure their feed is high quality. The judges praised the farm’s innovative heat exchange and effluent systems, the latter of which can store up to 90 days’ worth of effluent. All farm water comes from a bore, while minerals are carefully dispensed to all paddocks via water lines.
The care and dedication shown to the farm is replicated in the community, with the Trotters being involved in extensive community work. The judges commended the amount of time and support they give their local community, resulting in great outcomes.