22 March 2013
An intensive arable operation that utilises technology to maximise production in a sustainable manner has won the Supreme title in the 2013 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie of Greenvale Pastures Ltd received the award at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 21.
BFEA judges described the Mackenzies as top producers who offer “high levels of innovation and leadership in the arable industry”.
They said the progressive couple has taken technology to the next step on their irrigated farm “using every available tool to improve their production and cost efficiency”.
Electromagnetic soil mapping, for example, is used to give a clear picture of water holding and productive capacity within specific zones.
Judges also commended the use of technologies like variable rate irrigation to ensure crops are never overwatered.
Canterbury Judging Coordinator James Hoban said the Supreme Award is about acknowledging a farm business making the best use of its natural, financial and human resources “and Craige and Roz are certainly doing that”.
“As judges we are not saying that this level of intensive precision agriculture is where all farms need to go to be sustainable. But what Craige and Roz are doing is leading edge and deserves recognition through the awards.”
Greenvale grows mainly specialist crops, with this season’s rotation including radish, chicory, wheat, ryegrass, fescue, barley and faba beans.
Judges said the intensive farm operates simple and effective crop rotations, describing Greenvale as a neat and tidy property that is “a high performing unit in every aspect”.
Along with 200ha Greenvale, the Mackenzies also hold a 50 percent equity share in a neighbouring 330ha dairy unit. And with their daughter Jemma they co-own a company that utilises precision agriculture technology to provide agronomic support and solutions to farmers.
Judges praised the way the Mackenzies regard their staff on Greenvale as “the most important aspect of their operation”.
They also noted the couple’s very effective utilisation of soil test and plant requirement information to plan and monitor nutrient use efficiency.
Fertiliser is spread using a variable rate spreader equipped with technology that allows targeted nutrient application to meet specific crop requirements.
Judges also noted the couple’s strategic use of irrigation to ensure maximum seed germination while enhancing the activity of applied chemicals and increasing nitrogen use efficiency.
As well as the Supreme Award the Mackenzies also collected the Ballance Nutrient Management Award and the Environment Canterbury Regional Council Water Efficiency Award.
A BFEA field day will be held on Greenvale farm, with the date to be advised.
Winners in the 2013 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:
Supreme Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrient Nutrient Management Award, Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award: Craige and Roz Mackenzie, Greenvale Pastures Ltd, Methven.
Hill Laboratories Harvest Award: Kelvin Hicks, Willowmere Organic Farm, Hororata.
PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award: Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin, Beechbank, Culverden.
Massey University Discovery Award: David and Lisa Anderson, Bog Roy, Otematata.
LIC Dairy Farm Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Meridian Energy Award:Hoogeveen, Waddington, Rodwell and Macfarlane families, Kintore, Carew.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, Donaghys Stewardship Award: Annabel Tripp and Roy Veronese, Snowdon Station, Rakaia Gorge.
For more information on the 2013 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact Jocelyn Muller, BFEA Regional Co-ordinator, phone 027 549 7724 or email Jocelyn.Muller@ecan.govt.nz