A state-of-the-art Taranaki dairy farming operation is the inaugural winner of a prestigious farm environment contest.
Faull Farms Limited and their sharemilkers, Tony and Loie Penwarden, were named supreme winners of the 2014 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards at a gala awards evening in New Plymouth last night.
The national awards, now held in 10 regions, are organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust which formed a partnership last year with the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) to bring the contest to Taranaki.
The judges said the winning partnership was an outstanding example of best dairying practice.
On their way to the supreme award, the winners collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award.
The directors of Faull Farms Ltd, which owns a 371ha property at Tikorangi, near Waitara, are Gavin and Oliver Faull, whose ancestors settled part of the farm in 1867.
As sharemilkers on the farm since 2004, the Penwardens milk 850 spring-calving cows and 300 autumn-calving cows. Last season they produced almost 488,000kg of milksolids (MS) and are on target for 540,000kg MS this season.
The judges noted the partnership's technology and innovation, excellent production, an admirable focus on people and a long-term approach to minimise the farm's environmental impact. They also praised their understanding of soils and their integrated approach to effluent management.
The farm's automated 60-bail rotary dairy shed, dubbed the Supershed when it opened in 2007, allowed the collection and analysis of a comprehensive range of performance data.
Judges also noted the community focus of both the Faulls and Penwardens and the popularity of farm visits by agricultural students, schools and special interest and international tour groups.
Robin and Jacqueline Blackwell, Mangaotea Farms, of Tariki, won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award and Taranaki Regional Council Sustainability Award.
Kenneth and Rachel Short, Shortland Farm Ltd Partnership, of Opunake, won the WaterForce Integrated Management Award and Tim and Sue Hardwick-Smith, Kohunui, of Mangamingi, won the Meridian Energy Excellence Award. There were six finalists.
The winners, who will represent Taranaki in the national finals, will host a field day soon.
- Taranaki Daily News