14 April 2020
2020 finalists: John Taylor, Brendon Stent & Aafke Huisman of Rosebank – Landcorp Farming Pāmu - Dairy Support.
Rosebank is a leader in the field of agricultural sustainability and its investment in infrastructure over the past six seasons has been game-changing. Primarily a dairy support block, the Canterbury property has diversified by trialling new crops, fertiliser regimes and stocking rates, plus has a strong commitment to biodiversity.
Rosebank was entered into the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to demonstrate its proactive approach that includes diversifying alongside its primary goal of returning well-grown heifers to three local Landcorp dairy farms.
Growing 1,500 replacement stock, the farm has been transformed in recent years thanks to impressive investment in development and capital projects – driven by a focus on sustainability. For example, three centre pivots have replaced border dyke irrigation and a new dam means water is now stored on the farm. New cattle yards have made stock handling more efficient and safer, and the judges commended the modern yard effluent system.
Different cropping options are being trialled – diversifying and spreading risk, while also aiming to reduce nitrogen leaching and greenhouse gas emissions. Two new crops are being trialled – lucerne and radish – and this willingness to diversify was praised by the judges. The addition of lucerne has reduced the cropping areas of traditional winter crops kale and fodderbeet which in itself has led to positive environmental benefits.
The judges were impressed with the commitment to biodiversity, including mānuka being planted along the length of a water race and plans for more native planting. The back boundary has been planted in gums and there are plenty of beehives on the property to boost pollination.
The judges commended stock performance and health, saying it was a clear priority. As well as following an annual vet plan, the team implements an annual fertiliser plan that includes yearly soil testing and herbage.