Couple top Kiwi green farmers

GERALD PIDDOCK
Last updated 12:13 28/06/2013
Craige and Roz Mackenzie
WINNERS: Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie after they won the Farm Environment Awards.

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Craige and Roz Mackenzie have been recognised as the country's top environmental farmers after being named national winners of the 2013 Farm Environment Awards.

They received the Gordon Stephenson Trophy in front of 400 guests at the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust's Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton on Saturday night.

The winner is recognised as an ambassador for the promotion of sustainable and profitable farming in New Zealand.

The event celebrated the contribution agriculture made to the New Zealand economy and highlighted the efforts farmers had made to find better ways to manage their farming systems.

The trophy is presented annually and is named after the Waikato farmer who started the farm environment awards.

Craige Mackenzie said he was "very, very honoured", to accept the award.

"We look forward to being ambassadors for the coming year."

They were chosen from the nine regional award winners and Roz Mackenzie found inspiring and motivating what these winners were doing.

"We find it really interesting what other people are doing on their farms. We learn so much from all the little things that people do," she said.

The Mackenzies run Greenvale Pastures, an intensive arable operation near Methven that grows radish, chicory, wheat, ryegrass, fescue, barley and faba beans.

They are also equity partners in a neighbouring dairy farm and co-own precision agriculture technology company Agri Optics with daughter Jemma.

Their mission statement is farming for the future and they use cutting-edge technology in every aspect of their business, including farm and soil mapping and variable rate irrigation.

Roz Mackenzie said precision farming was about the "five R's . . . It's about the right input being used in the right amount being put in the right place at the right time and in the right manner".

Most farmers were trying to do that with their inputs anyway, she said.

Every farmer used precision agriculture, they just did not realise it, Craige Mackenzie said.

"By measuring and monitoring, that's exactly what they are doing."

Using the technology fitted in well with the dairy industry. Last year the Mackenzies saved 45 per cent of their base fertiliser and lime, which reduced their environmental footprint.

The technology allowed farmers to map their farm to avoid large amounts of nutrients running off a hill into a gully, he said.

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- Waikato Times

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