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Diverse Farming Business Scores Supreme Double in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards

11 April 2014

Diverse Farming Business Scores Supreme Double in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Kaiwera farmers Andrew and Heather Tripp, Nithdale Station Ltd, have won the Supreme title in the Southland Ballance Farm Awards for the second time.

The Tripps were announced Supreme winners of the 2014 Southland Ballance Farm Awards (BFEA) at a special ceremony on April 10. They also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the Massey University Innovation Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Alliance Quality Livestock Award.

Since first winning the Supreme title in the inaugural Southland BFEA in 2002, the Tripps have added a dairy farm to their diverse farming operation based on historic Nithdale Station, south east of Gore.

Along with sheep, beef, dairy and forestry, the 1635ha property also runs a genetics business - comprising stud Romney and Suffolk sheep- and a farmstay.

BFEA judges praised the Tripps’ commitment and passion for the land which was first settled by Andrew’s grandfather in 1924.

Carrying 17,000 stock units, Nithdale was described as a large property with six enterprises running all at once and “excellence sought from every stream of operation”.

Judges said the Tripps are always at the cutting edge of farming for the future and are determined to adapt and adopt new practices.

Nithdale’s 275ha (effective) dairy unit was established in 2008. Sharemilkers Jan and Catherine de Klerk milk over 830 cows and the farm achieved production of 1309kg Milksolids/ha last season. A feed pad for up to 600 cows was built two years ago and assists with prevention of soil pugging.

Judges described Andrew’s knowledge of soils on the property as “excellent”, noting his measured approach to increasing soil health by applying fertilisers to optimise plant uptake and nutrient efficiency.

Careful consideration has also been given to fitting stock class to the best use of land, judges said.

Pasture utilisation, weed control and overall aesthetics are excellent, with established trees providing future income, biodiversity and shelter.

All waterways on the dairy unit have been riparian fenced to incorporate generous buffer zones.

Judges also noted the Tripp’s focus on retaining as much red tussock and indigenous vegetation as possible during hill development.

They said the family’s attachment for their land “shines through very strongly”.

Extensive governance and management structures have been evolved to support the entire operation, succession and family, and an ethos of excellence, innovation and teamwork is demonstrated across all aspects of the farm enterprise.

The Tripps, who have four children, do their best to ensure Nithdale is an “encouraging and positive” place to live and work, judges said.

They also praised the couple’s commitment to their community.

A BFEA field day will be held on Nithdale Station on Tuesday, April 29.

Winners in the 2014 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards were;

Supreme award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, LIC Dairy Farm Award, Massey University Discovery Award, Alliance Quality Livestock Award; Andrew and Heather Tripp, Nithdale Station, Kaiwera.

PGG Wrightson Land And Life Award, WaterForce Integrated Water Management Award, Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award; Mark and Deborah Hamill, Folly Farm – Tiro Roa Ltd, Gorge Road.

Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Meridian Energy Excellence Award; Robert and Cameron Grant, Grant Bros Partnership, Otapiri Gorge, Mandeville.

For more information on the 2014 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact Helen van der Linden, Southland Regional Coordinator, Ballance Farm Environment Awards,southland@bfea.org.nz, phone (03) 2048 261 or 027 276 7616.

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