Three wins for cou­ples

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

En­ter­ing the Waikato Bal­lance Farm En­vi­ron­ment Awards was a great way for Mata­mata sharemilk­ers Phil and Kim Dykzeul to find out how their op­er­a­tion stacked up in terms of en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity.

The cou­ple won three cat­e­gory awards at this year’s event.

The Dykzeul’s 50/50 sharemilk 200 cows on 83ha owned by Richard and Pauline Kean.

‘‘We were over the moon to win three awards in our first time in the com­pe­ti­tion,’’ Phil said.

‘‘Not just for our­selves but also for Richard and Pauline.

‘‘They’ve done a lot of en­vi­ron­men­tal work on the farm over the pre­vi­ous 23 years and they’ve done it all off their own bat be­cause they care very much about sus­tain­abil­ity.’’

As well as get­ting some ac­knowl­edge­ment for the Keans, Phil said a key rea­son for en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion was ‘‘to see how well we were do­ing com­pared with other farms’’.

‘‘We are very proud of the farm and this was a great op­por­tu­nity for us to share that pride.’’

Win­ning the LIC Dairy Farm Award was es­pe­cially ex­cit­ing for the Dykzeuls, who are rel­a­tively new to sharemilk­ing.

The LIC Dairy Farm award recog­nised the dairy farmer who demon­strates in a prac­ti­cal way the choices that have been made to farm for the long term.

Judges took into ac­count the wise use of land, labour and cap­i­tal re­sources, and they also con­sider the ef­fects of dairy farm­ing on both sur­face and ground­wa­ter and its im­pact on soil prop­er­ties.

BFEA judges said the Dykzeuls, who pre­vi­ously had ca­reers in en­vi­ron­men­tal land man­age­ment and ac­coun­tancy, showed an ‘‘ex­cel­lent un­der­stand­ing of the rou­tines, ac­tions, re­ac­tions and con­se­quences’’ of dairy­ing.

They also praised the cou­ple’s strong work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Keans.

Phil said get­ting an ex­pert per­spec­tive on their farm­ing op­er­a­tion was par­tic­u­larly valu­able.

‘‘ As farm­ers we tend to be heads-down, tail-up on our land, and we can be­come very in­su­lar,’’ he said.

‘‘ So it was nice to have the judges come and look at what we were do­ing and re­as­sure us that we were on the right track,’’ Phil said.

His ad­vice to any­one con­sid­er­ing en­ter­ing the awards is to give it a go.

‘‘Some peo­ple think you have to have a park-like farm to en­ter, but that is cer­tainly not the case.

‘‘ It’s not just about cre­at­ing in­dige­nous bio­di­ver­sity, it’s about how you man­age your soil, pas­ture and wa­ter re­sources.

‘‘Be­ing in­volved with the com­pe­ti­tion is a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and I think most farm­ers would ben­e­fit from en­ter­ing. I know we got a lot out of it.’’

En­tries for the 2015 Bal­lance Farm En­vi­ron­ment Awards are now open via www.bfea.org.nz. En­tries for the 2015 Waikato BFEA close on Oc­to­ber 24.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

WIN­NING FARM­ERS: From left, farm own­ers Pauline and Richard Kean and win­ning sharemilk­ers Kim and Phillip Dykzeul.

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