1 January 2007
Father and son team Bob and David Jefferis, along with David’s wife Lyndi, run a multi-faceted livestock and cropping operation on 485ha just east of Te Kauwhata.
Ballance Farm Environment Award judges described the business as “a well managed, intensively run family farm, with excellent succession plans in place”.
As well winning the Supreme award the Jefferis family also took out the Ballance Nutrient Management Award, the Hills Harvest Award, the PGG Wrightson Habitat Improvement Award and the Environment Waikato Water Protection Award.
The fourth generation family farm trades about 800 cattle and up to 3200 lambs annually and contract grows maize for both grain and silage. In addition 32ha of the farm is leased out for market gardening, growing onions and potatoes.
The beef, lamb and cropping operations are carefully interwoven in a system that considers inputs, returns and sustainable farming practices.
“Our goal is the best net return off the land while maintaining a balanced lifestyle. We’re always considering what works for the farm, but at the same time we also look at what works for the people,” says David Jefferis.
The judges praised the family’s “intergenerational passion for the wellbeing of the environment”, and David credits much of this to his father who has set “an amazing example”.
While he and his sisters didn’t always relish the task of planting trees and flaxes during the school holidays, David now appreciates the results of Bob’s passion, “both aesthetically and production-wise”.
“I have watched Dad turn some of the worst parts of the farm, boggy wet areas, into spectacular ponds with all the complementary vegetation and wildlife. The ponds also act as silt traps for any run-off with sediment staying in the ponds and clean water coming from the overflow.”
The pasture and crop programme is on a five year turnover of pasture and the judges noted how this resulted in a healthy, thick sward of pasture. “The soil structure is also very good, with root depth up to 30 cm.”
A public field day will be held on the Jefferis farm on May 1.
The other winners were:
Gallagher Innovation Award, Reymer Farms Cambridge
PPCS Livestock Farm Award, Kim Robinson, Lochiel Farmlands Glen Murray
LIC Dairy Farm Award, Joan De Renzy and Craig Fulton, Mara Roa Matamata
Special Awards, Markus Ruegger, for outstanding work ethic and commitment to sustainable farming Matamata
Waikato Forest & Bird Native Forest Restoration Award, Leslie and Evelyn Shaw Kawhia