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Mid-Canterbury Mixed Cropping Farmers Win 2007 Supreme Canterbury BFEA

1 January 2007

Mid-Canterbury Mixed Cropping Farmers Win 2007 Supreme Canterbury BFEA

Achieving sustainability is a continuous learning process for David and Hilary Ward, winners of the Supreme award at the 2007 Ballance Farm Environment Awards for Canterbury.

The Wards run a mixed cropping unit on 425ha near Ashburton, where they are achieving top results across a range of crops.

To achieve the best outcomes both for production and environmental protection they are continuously fine tuning management tools such as direct drilling and water and nutrient monitoring.

The Wards also won the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, and the Ballance Nutrient Management Award.

Judging co-ordinator Joanne van Polanen says planning has been the key strength of all eight finalists, and this was reflected in the management and performance of their farms.

“There was a range of topography, climate, soil types and environmental challenges among the finalists, but their underlying aim was to enhance and develop their farms as sustainable and profitable businesses.”

The judges say the Wards have developed excellent, innovative practices to allow for intensive farming with high value crops and sound production.

Ninety-five per cent of crop establishment on the Ward’s farm is by no-tillage.

David Ward says using water in the most efficient way is a main thrust of their farming operation, and that is why they have adopted no-tillage techniques.

Extensive nutrient management is carried out through soil tests and deep soil nutrient tests.

He says that the search for more sustainable agriculture is very important for New Zealand. “But to be green you’ve got to be making a profit.”

A field day will be held on David and Hilary Ward’s farm in spring.

Winners of the awards were:

Supreme Award: David and Hillary Ward

BFEA Land and Life Award: Ian, Pam and Andrew Richardson

Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award: Lyndon and Millie Matthews

PGG Wrightson Habitat Improvement Award: Ian and Diana Mackenzie

LIC Dairy Farm Award: Shaun and Joanne Back

Hill Laboratories Harvest Farm Award: David and Hilary Ward

Ballance Nutrient Management Award: David and Hilary Ward

PPCS Livestock Farm Award: Richard and Annabelle Subtil

Gallagher Innovation Award: Donald and Kathy Hudson