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Earnscleugh Orchard Supreme Winner of Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards

12 April 2014

Earnscleugh Orchard Supreme Winner of Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards

An industry leading Central Otago orchard with a long term sustainability focus has won the Supreme title in the 2014 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Wayne McIntosh, manager of Earnscleugh-based McIntosh Orchard Ltd, received the Supreme award at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 11. He also collected the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

BFEA judges said the 64ha pip and stonefruit operation is a business at the forefront of its industry, describing it as a top producing orchard with “a vision and strategy to promote the Otago region and to be recognised nationally and internationally”.

Situated between Alexandra and Clyde, the family-owned orchard has about 34,000 trees and produces cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples and a range of trial fruits.

Wayne has been managing the business for ten years and runs it in partnership with his parents, Stuart and Sharyn.

Judges commended Wayne on his “commitment and enthusiasm” to running a successful and growing business while continuing to “ensure the sustainability of this multi-generational enterprise”.

McIntosh Orchard has eight full-time staff and employs around 46 more during season peaks.

It currently supplies four to five percent of the peaches and nectarines sold domestically each year. The orchard also has a small packhouse in which cherries, which account for about 40 percent of income, are hand-sorted and sized while still in bunches.

Judges said Stuart and Wayne’s management has left the orchard well placed for future growth.

“Wayne’s knowledge of Asia has been a major factor in lifting the market presence and recognition of the McIntosh Orchard brand. He has an excellent understanding of cultural and business practises in Asia and this is a crucial element in the success of their innovative marketing strategy.”

The orchard aims to grow fruit of the highest quality, marketing it for the greatest possible return. Strong and trusted relationships with key exporters and buyers have helped McIntosh Orchard achieve an outstanding reputation.

Judges said effective risk management is a key feature of the business, with climate, market, social, business and labour risks all carefully managed.

Water is a vital resource for the operation. All 64ha is under irrigation and the orchard is gradually changing to an under-tree system for more efficient watering.

The operation’s long term sustainability focus is achieved through the careful management of the soil and water resource, and wise agri-chemical use, judges said.

McIntosh Orchard’s outstanding mix of innovation is “informed by a multi-generational approach to orcharding in the area”.

A BFEA field day will be held on McIntosh Orchard on Wednesday May 14, 2014.

Winners in the 2014 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:

Supreme Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Massey University Innovation Award and WaterForce Integrated Management Award; Wayne McIntosh, McIntosh Orchard Ltd, Earnscleugh.

Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award; Craig and Emma Lister, Elliotvale Farm Ltd, Milton.

Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award, Meridian Energy Excellence Award and Alliance Quality Livestock Award; David and Sarah Smith, Mt Watkins Ltd, Waikouaiti.

LIC Dairy Farm Award, PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, Otago Regional Council Water Quality Award; Suzie and Brendon Bearman, Kilkenny Farm, Milton.

For more information on the 2014 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact Otago BFEA regional coordinator Camille McAtamney, ph 03 418 3972, 027 418 3414, or email otago@bfea.org.nz

For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, phone 07 834 0400, email david.natzke@nzfeatrust.org.nz.