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2009 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards

25 February 2009

2009 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Galatea dairy farmers Paul and Joanna McCarthy are Supreme Award winners of the 2009 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Their win was announced at a regional awards ceremony on February 25, where they also received the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Fish and Game New Zealand Eastern Region Water Management/Conservation Award.

Ballance Farm Environment Award judges described the McCarthy’s operation as “almost the perfect situation one could wish for when farming”.

The McCarthys own a 131ha dairy unit near Murupara and are milking about 300 cows on 124ha effective this season.

Judges said the McCarthys ran a “profitable farming unit developed over 23 years of hard work”.

Their well presented farm has a good infrastructure and is farmed in a very environmentally conscientious manner.

“Paul is a passionate dendrologist (someone who studies the cultivation of trees or woody plants) and this can be seen in both the home garden surrounds and out in the paddocks and riparian area of the farm. Trees in paddocks and along paddock-riparian boundaries provide shade for the stock, and in some areas away from watercourses the stock are able to wander into ring-fenced thickets of trees.”

In 1987 a series of ponds were built to attract and accommodate waterfowl. Dabchick and Scaup now breed here every year. This area has developed into a beautiful garden park with well designed landscaping complimenting the ponds.”

The McCarthys purchased the original farm in 1985 and recently bought another 31ha across the road. The addition of this new block, which has irrigation consent, has enabled cow numbers to be increased by 100.

Galatea was hit hard by the drought last year but the ability to irrigate should help the McCarthys maintain production through prolonged dryspells. In 2006/07 the farm milked 195 cows and achieved 384kg/Milksolids per cow. This dropped back to 323kg/MS/cow in the drought season of 2007/08, but the aim now is to reach a target of 500kg/MS/cow.

On the home farm, planting of trees in the riparian area started in 1999 and was completed in 2007. Planting on the new block will start this year.

Judges noted how the soils on the home farm have improved significantly over the last 23 years, with a substantial lift in organic matter.

They said the McCarthys and their five children share a strong interest in farming, and a good balance of other interests that include trees, tourism, school and travel.

Paul and Joanna possess “complimentary skills”, their responsibilities are clearly segregated and they are physically fit, healthy “and ready to meet the challenges of farming”.

A public field day will be held on the McCarthy farm in late March or early April (date to be confirmed).

The full list of 2009 Ballance Farm Environment Award category winners for the Bay of Plenty is:

Supreme Award:Paul and Joanna McCarthy, Galatea, Murupara

LIC Dairy Farm Award:Paul and Joanna McCarthy, Murupara

Silver Fern Farms Livestock Farm Award: Bruce and Tessa Calder, Pikowai Farms, Whakatane

Hill Laboratories Harvest Award: Keith and Wendy Holdom, Cromhall, Te Puna

Ballance Nutrient Management Award: Bruce and Tessa Calder, Pikowai Farms, Whakatane

PGGWrightson Landand Life Award:Paul and Joanna McCarthy, Galatea, Murupara

Gallagher Innovation Award: Bruce and Tessa Calder Pikowai Farms, Whakatane,

ZESPRI™ Kiwifruit Orchard Award: Keith and Wendy Holdom, Cromhall, Te Puna

EnvironmentBayof Plenty Environmental Award: Godfrey and Margaret Mackersey, Makereti Farm, Tauranga

EnvironmentBayof Plenty Environmental Award: Neil Heather (Heather Partnership), Awarua Farm, Rotorua

New ZealandFarm Environment Award Trust Habitat Improvement Award: Paul and Louise Burt & John and Linda Burt, The Run, Whakatane

Fish and Game New Zealand, Eastern Region Water Management / Conservation Award:Paul and Joanna McCarthy, Galatea, Murupara

RE/MAX BOP Lifestyle Award: Anne Van Leeuwen, Littleweed, Aongatete, Katikati

Trimax Mowing Systems Lifestyle:Ruth Gerzon and John Mayrick, Ohope