18 April 2011
A Landcorp farm managed by Peter and Helen Gilder has been named Supreme winner of the 2011 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
‘Waitepeka Farm’, Landcorp’s southern-most farm, also collected the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award.
Waitepeka’s win was announced at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 15.
While the success of the 855ha dairy and drystock unit is the result of a real team effort, BFEA judges praised the dedication of the managers.
“Staff development and input is highly valued, which is a reflection of Peter and Helen’s personal commitment to the farm.
There is clear evidence of a vision and passion to work within the landscape, and sustainably integrate social, environmental and farm production values.”
Situated on the Owaka Scenic Highway southeast of Balclutha, Waitepeka features mostly low-lying flat and terrace contour and about 260ha of easy hill country. The Clutha, Puerua and Glenomaru Rivers run through the farm, which is home to two productive dairy units on a milking platform of 558ha. The larger of these units, ‘Landsdown’ calved 1050 cows this season and its sister farm ‘Dunns’ calved 730. Annual production is around 1120kg Milksolids/ha.
The drystock operation wintered 100 bull calves, 450 heifers calves and 300 breeding ewes with another 500 added in late winter, just before lambing.
Ten full-time staff members are employed on the farm, along with six casual employees.
Waitepeka has an outstanding record of staff retention, reflecting the value the Gilders place on their staff. Students from Telford Rural Polytechnic are also trained on the farm, learning farming skills under Peter’s supervision.
BFEA judges said the training of staff and Telford students reflects Peter and Helen’s enthusiasm and passion for the rural community.
Waitepeka was originally a smaller farm, run mainly as a sheep breeding operation. It was converted in 2002, a major process which included the construction of two farm dairies, a new water scheme and the creation of 16km of laneways and 143km of drainage ditches.
Double-fenced ditches are planted out and the fencing of other riparian areas is continuing. The Gilders have established a plant nursery and their goal is to plant all fenced-off areas.
Waitepeka also has seven areas of native bush and wetland (totalling 15.6ha) in QEII National Trust and DOC covenants.
BFEA judges said vigorous monitoring systems are in place for environmental protection “and farm management systems exceed compliance standards”.
“The Gilders have a vision and a passion for what they do and an understanding of the environment they work in that few others possess. They have certainly made their mark on Waitepeka, a legacy that will continue long after they have left the property.”
A BFEA field day will be held on Waitepeka, with the date to be advised.
Other winners in the 2011 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards were;
Otago Regional Council Sustainable Resource Management Award; Phil Hunt and Lizzie Carruthers, ‘Fork Farm’, Wanaka
Massey University Discovery Award; Shane and Leona Trimble, ‘Sunnydale Farm’, Hampden
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Habitat Improvement Award; Shane and Leona Trimble, ‘Sunnydale Farm’, Hampden
Hill Laboratories Harvest Award; Dave and Hayley Vaughan and Landcorp, ‘Hindon Farm’, Hindon
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award; Dave and Hayley Vaughan and Landcorp, ‘Hindon Farm’, Hindon
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Nutrient Management Award; Dave and Hayley Vaughan and Landcorp, ‘Hindon Farm’, Hindon
Special Achievement Awards; Barry and Liz Gray, ‘Graylands Farm’, Owaka. Alex and Ann Restieaux, ‘Beacon Downs’, Clinton
For more information on the 2011 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact Beatrice Lee, BFEA Otago regional coordinator, phone (03) 473 9566, 027 2088 305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust or the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust, phone 07 834 0400, or email email@example.com.