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Enterprising Kiwifruit Orchardists Collect Top Title in 2011 BoP Ballance Farm Environment Awards

23 February 2011

Enterprising Kiwifruit Orchardists Collect Top Title in 2011 BoP Ballance Farm Environment Awards
Fifty years of hard work and innovation on their kiwifruit orchard near Tauranga has earned Graham and Mavis Dyer the Supreme title in the 2011 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).
At a BFEA ceremony on February 22 (2011), the couple also collected three category awards – the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Zespri Kiwifruit Orchard Award and the Massey University Discovery Award.

The Dyers grow approximately 12.5ha of kiwifruit (Gold and Green), and recently planted 2ha of Ginkgo Biloba on their Lower Kaimai property, Baypark.

Arriving on the farm in 1960, they originally developed it into a dairy farm before diversifying into kiwifruit after the construction of the Ruahihi Canal.

In the early years they turned a lack of good available kiwifruit and shelter plants into an opportunity by establishing a successful nursery operation.

Since then they have planted a range of shelter trees around the orchard, along with a 0.5ha stand of pinus radiata. Baypark also features a large pond which is surrounded by native bush and maintained to protect and encourage bird life, plus provide a site for family recreation.

BFEA assessors said the Dyers were pioneers in the successful production of green and gold kiwifruit cultivars “in a higher altitude site with twice the rainfall and lower sunshine hours than Tauranga”.

They also noted the innovative way in which the Dyers utilised their skills and networks to develop the property and create income streams.

An impressive example of this is the development of a whole new industry based on Ginkgo nut production, with the Dyers sourcing elite plant material from Japan, investing in research and development plus visiting the marketplace to develop supply chain relationships well ahead of production.

“They have also established an internationally significant collection of Agathis (Kauri trees) that clearly demonstrates how a contribution to global biodiversity can be incorporated into a profitable and sustainable orchard enterprise.

The Dyer’s strong focus on financial sustainability was the key to getting a return on their investment in the property.

“This allows them to dedicate their time, energy and resources to best-practice environmental protection and development.”

Through their involvement with young people in Vanuatu and the Czech Republic, the Dyers have also established a reliable and sustainable labour supply.

Graham has been active in kiwifruit governance. He and Mavis are involved in a range of community activities, including working on a voluntary basis at Tauranga City Council’s Sydenham Gardens. They also provide hosting services for Zespri’s international visitors.

Two of the Dyer’s sons and their families live on kiwifruit orchards on either side of Baypark and another son and his family own a nearby dairy farm.

A field day will be held on the Supreme Award-winning orchard on March 29.

Other category award winners in the 2011 BOP Ballance Farm Environment Awards were;

Beef+Lamb NZ Livestock Award and Bay Of Plenty Regional Council Environmental Award; Tony and Joanna Carr.

LIC Dairy Farm Award; Kerry, Lea and Brad Snowdon

Ballance Nutrient Management Award and Ballance Agri-nutrients Habitat Improvement Award; Barry Hogg, Andy and Rachael Mitchell

PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award; Val Baker, Des and Audra Thomson

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Environmental Award; Winston Fleming.

For more information on the BOP Ballance Farm Environment Awards and the Supreme Award field day, contact BOP BFEA Regional Coordinator Kirsten Winter, phone (07) 573 5238, (0275) 721 244 or email bop@bfea.org.nz.