3 April 2014
A high-achieving Tikorangi dairy farming operation, described by judges as an outstanding example of best dairying practise, is the inaugural winner of the 2014 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The region’s first Supreme title was presented to Gavin and Oliver Faull, Faull Farms Limited, and their sharemilkers, Tony and Loie Penwarden, at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards ceremony on April 3. The Faull Farms Ltd/Trewithen Partnership also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award.
Gavin and Oliver are directors of Faull Farms Ltd, which owns the 371ha property near Waitara. The Penwardens have been sharemilking on the farm since 2004 and currently milk 850 spring-calving cows and 300 autumn-calving cows on a 282ha milking platform.
Last year the operation produced almost 488,000kg of Milksolids (MS) and this season it is on target to achieve 540,000kgMS.
BFEA judges described the business as a strong example of dairying and what can be achieved with “two businesses combining effectively to service the aspirations of both”.
Judges were impressed with the determination of the partners to achieve best practise in all areas, noting the outstanding adoption of technology and innovation, excellent per hectare and per cow production levels and an “admirable focus on people”.
They said a long term approach has been taken to minimising the farm’s environmental impact. Very good progress has been made on riparian planting, with a sound management plan in place.
Judges also praised the partnership’s “very good understanding of soils and how soils impact on the business” and the integrated approach to effluent management. All paddocks are soil tested and 136ha of the milking platform is piped, allowing carefully-timed effluent applications to be delivered via two smart hydrants, each with six guns.
The farm has a team of four full-time staff and six part-time “milk harvesters” and BFEA judges said the commitment shown to staff and their families is “exceptional, above and beyond the norm”.
Cows are milked through a high-tech 60-bale rotary dairy which is fully automated to enable the collection and analysis of a comprehensive range of performance data. A former farm dairy has been converted into a calf-rearing complex with a computer controlled feeding system.
With ties to the farm stretching back to 1867, the Faulls have taken great pride in fostering intergenerational family involvement. Many visitors have been welcomed to the farm, including agricultural students, schools and special interest tour groups.
Judges also commented on the “remarkable community focus” shown by both the Faulls and Penwardens.
A field day will be held on the Supreme-award winning farm, with the date to be advised.
Winners in the 2014 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards were;
Supreme award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, LIC Dairy Farm Award, Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award; Gavin Faull and Oliver Faull (directors), Tony and Loie Penwarden (sharemilkers), Faull Farms Ltd/Trewithen Partnership, Tikorangi.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award and Taranaki Regional Council Sustainability Award; Robin and Jacqueline Blackwell, Mangaotea.
WaterForce Integrated Management Award; Kenneth and Rachel Short, Shortland Farm Ltd Partnership, Opunake.
Meridian Energy Excellence Award; Tim and Sue Hardwick-Smith, Kohunui.
For more information on the 2014 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact , NZ Farm Environment Trust, ph (07) 829 4442, 027 218 3711, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, phone 07 834 0400, email@example.com.