14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Mike & Nicky Salvesen of Wakare - Beef & deer.
A progressive vision for the future is guiding this Canterbury beef and deer farm, enabling it to adapt to changing conditions and reduce its environmental footprint. Native trees are flourishing thanks to a significant planting programme that includes planting 1,500 new trees annually for the next 10 years.
The Salvesens entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to help shift negative perceptions by demonstrating the positive environmental work being done by farmers.
The 1380ha effective property is comprised of two blocks, the main one running calving cows and breeding bulls for dairy herds, deer for venison production and about 1,000 lambs that are finished annually. Genetic measurements are tracked as the business strives to continually improve the quality of the animals. The second block supports the main property, running dairy grazers and Wagyu beef, plus it provides capital protection and forms part of the succession planning.
The Salvesens have made numerous improvements to the property over the past 12 years, both in terms of production and the environment. A significant number of native trees suited to the local environment have been planted, with thousands more going in over the next 10 years. The judges were impressed with this commitment to sourcing and planting native trees, along with waterway protection that includes planting and fencing. All activities are guided by an acute awareness of how they can affect the local and wider environment.
There’s a strong focus on preparing for the future, enabling the farm to adapt to changing conditions. Top of mind is planning for extended dry seasons, with bulls and venison now leaving the farm in spring which enables flexibility around the balance of trading.
Crops are carefully managed to capture carbon, maximise production and use minimal fertilisers, with the judges commending the soil fertility and biodiversity of the hill blocks.