INDEPENDENT NEWS

‘Wow Factor’ Farm Wins Supreme Title in Farm Awards

Published: Thu 12 Apr 2012 11:03 AM
Media Release
Thursday, 12th April 2012
‘Wow Factor’ Farm Wins Supreme Title in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards
Opio farmers Michael and Karen Blomfield, the owners of an “industry-leading” dairy farm, have won the Supreme award in the 2012 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were lavish in their praise of the couple’s 220ha former sheep and beef farm, describing it as an “impeccable and aesthetically pleasing farm with the wow factor”.
“This dairy business can be highlighted as demonstrating all the disciplines we would have expected of a medium scale operation that epitomises near optimum environmental, social and financial sustainability.”
The Blomfields were announced Supreme winners at a BFEA ceremony on April 11, where they also collected a slew of category awards, including the LIC Dairy Farm Award.
Michael and Karen took over the farm from Michael’s parents John and Joan in 1994, and converted it in 2008. Last season they peak milked 580 cows on a milking platform of 189ha, achieving 233,300kgMilksolids at a cost of just $3.13/kgMS.
BFEA judges said the whole farm conversion had been thoughtfully planned and executed, with the Blomfields utilising their extensive knowledge of the farm’s soils to implement an impressive grazing management programme.
Their strong focus on pasture monitoring and management was enhanced by the use of expert advice and Michael’s extensive knowledge of pasture species to create highly productive pasture mixes.
Crops are kept to a minimum. Swede crops are precision drilled and carefully grazed to improve utilisation while minimising damage to soils.
Though the Blomfields run a low input system, they set high performance targets and are always mindful of environmental impacts.
Judges said they demonstrated a very good understanding of soil nutrients. Fertiliser is carefully placed across different sectors according to a detailed nutrient management plan.
The Blomfields, who run the operation with the help of herd manager Nathan Knight, seek expert advice from a range of sources and are always looking for opportunities to improve their business. Over the last four years they have made a significant effort to reduce farm debt, with farm succession being a key consideration in most decisions.
Judges said the Blomfields’ strong awareness of sustainability is highly evident. All improvements on the Opio property have been “thoughtfully considered and carefully implemented, resulting in many innovative features”.
Examples include the use of solar panels for powering road-crossing lights and the utilisation of native bark chips as a protective layer around drainage pipes. Plastic bale wrap is compacted in an old wool press, and a cardboard shoebox “muffler” is used to silence molasses feeding in the shed.
Judges said a range of water and energy-saving devices and practises are in place. The farm also has a highly effective effluent system which utilises a weeping wall.
Steeper areas and gullies have been planted out and the property features some outstanding riparian zones “that have been created with a real focus on plant species and beautification”.
These plantings have also provided a home for native birds.
Shelterbelts were established on the farm before conversion and these were added to as part of the laneway creation and farm subdivision.
Judges commended the Blomfields’ passion, which has prevailed despite the challenge of learning a whole new mode of farming.
“The huge focus on the creation of both aesthetic and habitat-enhancing environments was industry-leading. Michael is a self-confessed tree man who has taken the contour of the land and enhanced the natural features to create a profitable dairy farm in a park-like setting.”
As well as the Supreme award, the Blomfields also won the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Nutrient Management Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, Massey University Discovery Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.
Riverton farmers Euan and Linda Templeton won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award.
A field day will be held on the Blomfield farm on May 9.
ends

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

Meridian spilled water to hike electricity prices - Authority ruling
By: RNZ
XE Data Update - RBNZ Official Cash Rate Decision
By: XE Money Transfer
Kiwis Ignore Promise Of Cheaper Power
By: Canstar Blue
COVID-19 Contributes To 1.6 Percent Fall In March Quarter GDP
By: Statistics New Zealand
Transmission Pricing For A Low Carbon Future
By: Electricity Authority
Investor Confidence Falls To Four-year Low
By: ASB Bank
Funding For R&D; In New Zealand – Expert Reaction
By: Science Media Centre
2019 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Announced
By: Prime Minister Science Prizes
Fuel, alcohol costs to go up from today
By: RNZ
Young Kiwi Astro-photographer Shoots For The Stars
By: Stardome Observatory
Time For EU To Commit To A Level Playing Field For Trade
By: DCANZ - Dairy Companies Association New Zealand
Protecting NZ Fries As Part Of PNZ Pandemic Recovery & Transformation Plan
By: Potatoes New Zealand
Supporting Kiwi businesses to resolve rent disputes
By: New Zealand Government
Understanding 5G Concerns – Expert Q&A;
By: Science Media Centre
Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive
By: Statistics New Zealand
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media