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Farm Environment Award Endorses Strong Sheep Performance

1 January 2009

Farm Environment Award Endorses Strong Sheep Performance

Hamish Erwood is definitely not a greenie, but that didn't stop him and partner Janet Templeton winning a prestigious environmental award last year.

The couple, who farm 362ha of hill country at Waitahuna West, South Otago, took out the Livestock Farm award in the 2009 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Hamish says he was "wrapt" to win. He'd been encouraged to enter the awards, and despite having done a lot of development work over the last 13 years, wasn't really expecting to win.

"I'm not a greenie, but we've done a lot of shelterbelt planting and we've also been putting in poplar poles for slope stability."

The appropriately-named 'Farview Farm' rises up to 350metres above sea level and is exposed to winds and cold temperatures.

Hamish says the shelterbelts, along with the paddock planting of species like flax and snow tussock, have helped provide valuable protection for stock. Much of the farm has also been contour fenced to improve stock and nutrient management.

Farview winters just under 4000 stock units, including 2800 Romney ewes and 60 breeding cows. Hamish says the ewes consistently lamb at over 150% (lambs to sale), with 90% of the finishing lambs sold by the end of March. Last season's lambs averaged over 17kg carcaseweight.

Ballance Farm Environment Award judges noted the improvements being made on the farm and the excellent stock performance. Hamish says he was happy to receive this endorsement "because it shows that modern Romneys are up there with the best of them".

He sells about 80 breeding rams a year and has had a noticeable increase in the number of prospective buyers since winning the award.

Hamish says he gets most of his information by seeking out good farmers and sounding them out for ideas.

But he found the Farm Environment Award judging process to be "an interesting experience" and he'd encourage other farmers to enter.

"It certainly makes you think, so it's good to have a go."

Hamish and Janet plan to continue development work on the farm, and in 3 to 4 years time they will look at re-entering the awards.

Entries for the 2010 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on October 1 and close on December 14, 2009.

For more information or an entry form, visit www.bfea.org.nz or contact Beatrice Lee, BFEA Otago regional coordinator, phone (03) 473 9566, 027 2088 305 or email otago@bfea.org.nz 
For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Award Trust, phone 07 834 0400, emaildavid.natzke@nzfeatrust.org.nz or visit www.bfea.org.nz