13 April 2011
Carterton dairy farmers, Ray and Lyn Craig, are the Supreme winners of the 2011 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
At a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 12, the Craigs were also awarded the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Habitat Improvement Award.
BFEA judges said the riparian plantings on ‘Lynx Farm’ were “among the best achieved on a dairy farm in New Zealand”.
The Craigs farm a total of 262ha, including 84ha of leased land. They run two herds, milking 550 cows once-a-day through two separate farm dairies.
Judges praised the structure, management and approach at Lynx Farm, describing it as an “excellent quality operation with above average improvements and a very strong personal factor”.
Ray and Lyn bought their first block in 1995, steadily growing the business by adding neighbouring blocks between 1996 and 2007.
Situated on the western edge of Carterton on mostly flat land, the Wairarapa farm is traversed by the Enaki and Mangatere streams.
When the Craigs bought the original block, none of the high silt banks along the waterways were fenced. So they embarked on a major fencing and planting project to protect these areas from erosion.
The retirement and planting of wetland areas has resulted in an improvement in water quality. Drainage has been a key priority and this has significantly reduced the risk of flooding and soil damage.
Stand-off areas for the cows also help to reduce pasture damage.
The Craigs aim to keep their farming system as self-contained as possible. They switched to once-a-day milking at the start of this season and while there has been a 15% drop in production, this has been offset by lower running costs and improved animal health.
BFEA judges were impressed by the condition of the herd, noting how “quiet and content” the cows were.
Ray and Lyn have five children and their eldest son, Daniel, works on the farm. The other children also help out and the whole family enjoys extensive community involvements, including St Johns, Fire Brigade, Surf Livesaving and the Enaki Care Group.
A BFEA field day will be held on Lynx Farm on May 11.
Other winners in the 2011 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards were:
Massey University Discovery Award; Peter and Judi Ferris, Wairarapa Manuka Ltd, Carterton
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Nutrient Management Award; Larry McKenna, Escarpment Vineyard Ltd, Martinborough
PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award; Miles and Janet King, Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese, Masterton
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award; Jeff and Shirley Ravenswood, Fernglen, Masterton
GWRC Akura Conservation Lifestyle Award; Malcolm Batchelor and Anna-Marie Kingsley, Hattenburn, Carterton
Hill Laboratories Harvest Award; Ed and Mel Handyside, Te Hopai, Featherston
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.