In­ten­sive farm­ers’ light foot­print

Wairarapa News - - WHAT’S ON - RU­RAL REPORTER

Bench­mark­ing them­selves against other farm­ers was one of the big pluses in en­ter­ing the Bal­lance Farm En­vi­ron­ment Awards for Wairarapa farm­ers Mike and Liz McCreary.

En­ter­ing in the Greater Welling­ton re­gion, they won the Massey Univer­sity in­no­va­tion, WaterForce in­te­grated man­age­ment, live­stock and farm stew­ard­ship awards.

Each year, the McCrearys fin­ish about 30,000 lambs and up to 1500 bulls and crop on their 618 hectare (540ha ef­fec­tive) prop­erty on the south eastern shores of Lake Wairarapa.

They bought the farm with Mike’s par­ents in 2008, and also have a spe­cial­ist agri­cul­tural con­tract­ing busi­ness, McCreary Ma­chin­ery, con­cen­trat­ing on min­i­mum tillage ground and arable work.

Mike McCreary grew up in the West­ern Lake area and knows the dis­tinct corner of South Wairarapa.

He said the feed­back and com­ments from the awards judges, both in the first round and fi­nal, had opened their eyes to some of the things they were a lit­tle un­sure of, such as techno sys­tems and plant­ings.

‘‘We have an in­ten­sive farm. Our abil­ity to back fence ef­fi­ciently and spread the nu­tri­ents evenly across the whole farm has been a credit to our farm de­sign ... Our nu­tri­ent foot­print on the land is quite light for an in­ten­sive sys­tem.’’

He said the judg­ing in­cluded a lot of con­ver­sa­tion.

‘‘It was a fairly rounded process, not te­dious or some­thing to be scared of, but they kept us just be­ing us as we went around so we could share our farm with them.

‘‘It was a neat thing to in­volve our staff. In­volv­ing them with the judg­ing has given them more in­sight or more ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons be­hind what we’re do­ing.’’

There are 11 re­gional awards held around the coun­try, which fol­low the ge­o­graphic bound­aries of re­gional coun­cils.

The awards for the Hori­zons re­gional council area opened last month, and will close on Septem­ber 15.

The win­ners last year of the supreme award for the Hori­zons re­gion, were Pon­garoa sheep and beef farm­ers Shaun and Tra­cie Bax­ter.

The award judges com­mended the Bax­ters on a prop­erty where ‘‘all facets of sus­tain­abil­ity’’ could be seen.


Pon­garoa sheep and beef farm­ers Shaun and Tra­cie Bax­ter won the supreme award last year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.