30 April 2020
Evan & Linda Potter of Waipapa (sheep, beef & deer) are the 2020 winners of the East Coast Regional Supreme Winners in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).
The Potters have been farming Central Hawke's Bay hill country property, Waipapa, since 1998. They have added to the original 580 hectares - 80 in 2015 and another 80 in 2018 – to give them a total of 740. It’s 600 effective hectares, plus a 125-hectare QEII National Trust covenant block and 20 hectares of pine trees, ranging in age from seven to 20 years.
The property ranges in height from 130 to 360m above sea level with the higher reaches of the farm giving great views across the Elsthorpe district.
There is a focus on biodiversity and trees. As well as the regenerating QEII block, there is an annual pole planting programme for shade and erosion control, annual planting of natives, regular possum, cat and deer control, and wetland and riparian planting.
A soil conservation plan was done in Evan and Linda’s first year on the farm, followed by farm-based soil mapping in 2005 and a farm environment management plan through Beef + Lamb New Zealand in 2018.
The current production system is designed around a dry summer and a wet winter.
1500 Romney ewes are put to a terminal ram with all progeny sold.
300 old ewes lamb in July, with progeny killed at 19 to 20 kilograms late October.
The main mob and two-tooths lamb August 1st with 700 to 800 killed or stored late November and the balance taken through to winter and killed at more than 24kg.
The cattle side of the business is all trading and is a mixture of cows, bulls and steers.
240 four-day-old bull calves are hand reared annually.
The deer side includes a self-replacing velveting herd producing 1.2 tonne of velvet annually as well as 10 tonne of venison.
Two-thirds of the farm is under a reticulated water system pumped from the Hawea Stream and supplemented by an extensive dam system.
Socially, the Potters have great involvement with community, school, sport and industry. They say Waipapa is an awesome environment to live, work and raise a family.