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Outstanding Family Operation Scoops Supreme Award In 2015 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards

6 March 2015

Outstanding Family Operation Scoops Supreme Award In 2015 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Central Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmers Alastair and Tracy Ormond and Alastair’s son Daniel are the Supreme winners of the 2015 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At an Awards dinner on March 5, the Ormonds, who farm 620ha of hill-country in the Hatuma district, also collected the Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award and the East Coast Farming for the Future Award (sponsored by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council). 

BFEA judges described the Ormond’s farm ‘Te Umuopua’ as a well-planted and thoughtfully-developed property with land and water managed to the limitations of soil types.

They also noted the Ormond’s “open-minded and analytical approach” to the management of the business, which has helped put the operation at the forefront of successful sheep and cattle farming.

Te Umuopua runs approximately 5500 stock units, including 3300 high-performance Romney ewes that are mated to Texel/Finn rams and lambed at 152% (including hogget lambs) last spring.

Approximately 260 bulls were wintered in a cell grazing system last year and another 100 yearling bulls were purchased in early spring. Three-year-old bulls averaged 320kg Carcass weight (CW) and this year’s R2 bulls were expected to kill out at 260-280kgCW in April.

Judges said the condition of all livestock was “exceptional”.

The farm has challenging contour and its four specific soil types all have their limitations. Cross-slot cultivation is used on the lower slopes to increase the cropping area and allow more lambs to be finished.

Judges noted the strategic use of fodder cropping and an “excellent mix of land use, with intensive finishing alongside fenced native bush”.

The cell grazing system utilises isolated fingers of land throughout the farm and allows cattle to be kept off wet soils in winter.

Extensive shelterbelts have been planted on Te Umuopua, along with other trees for shade and erosion control.

Sitting at the top of the catchment for the Maharakeke River, the farm has a plentiful water supply. Natural springs have been fenced and planted, observed judges, and a 6ha block of native bush fenced off 30 years ago is home to “abundant bird life”.

Alastair runs the farm with the help of Trevor Chapman, and Tracy helps out when required. Daniel and wife Holly, who are in the process of building a house on the farm, are becoming increasingly involved in the management of the property.

Judges noted the development of a robust and open succession plan that reflects the Ormond’s “strong desire to keep the farm for the family”.

Alastair Ormond, a former farm consultant, has been a member of the research advisory group for the Poukawa Research Station and coordinated the Poukawa Calf Rearing Project for six years. He is also a past chairman of the Hawke's Bay Beef Council.

A BFEA field day will be held on Te Umuopua on Thursday March 19.

Winners in the 2015 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:

Supreme award, Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award and the East Coast Farming For the Future Award (sponsored by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council): Alastair and Tracy & Daniel Ormond, Te Umuopua, Central Hawke’s Bay.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award: Steve Wheeler, Mission Estate Winery vineyards, Hawke’s Bay.

Massey University Innovation Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award: Sam and Hannah Morrah, Ohineumeri, Central Hawke's Bay.

PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award: Sam and Gemma Hain, Waikura Station, Gisborne.

Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award: Philip and Robyn Holt & Philip Holt, Maraetara, Napier.

For more information on the 2015 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact BFEA East Coast regional coordinator Kate Taylor, ph (06) 8558 599 or email eastcoast@bfea.org.nz