April 13, 2017

Ohangai farmers win Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Ohangai sheep, beef and dairy farmers Peter and Nicola Carver have won the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The win was announced at last night's gala dinner at the Devon Hotel, New Plymouth.

Operating as Holmleigh Trust Partnership, the couple also took home the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, Waterforce Integrated Management Award, Taranaki Regional Council Sustainability Award and the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award.

It was a successful night all round for Fonterra farmers with John and Roslyn Weir winning the Taranaki region's LIC Dairy Farm Award and CB Norwood Distributors Agri-Business Award, Damian and Jane Roper winning the Farm Stewardship Award and Layne and Helen Greensill, with contract milkers William Candy and Rebecca Coleman, winning the Massey University Innovation Award.

The Carvers utilise their range of flat to steep South Taranaki country by combining both dairy and dry stock farming on Holmleigh, their 515ha family property at Ohangai, east of Hawera.

Operating with obvious consideration for the long-term viability of both their farming business and the environment, Peter and Nicola have a sheep and beef breeding and finishing unit complemented by a 95ha dairy platform they developed to start milking in the 2014/15 season. They milked 260 cows at the peak of this season.

The awards judges described Holmleigh as a tidy, functional farm and highlighted excellent thinking and execution of environmental planning throughout the farm for the long-term sustainability of the land. They said it was an impressive system giving huge flexibility while helping to ensure a sustainable business.

Peter and Nicola say they are proud of the farm’s progress.

“The farm has been re-grassed extensively, there is new water reticulation to most paddocks, access tracks and laneways have been created, fences have been improved and some areas of the farm that have been vulnerable to erosion and weed infestation have been retired and planted.”

When doing the conversion the Carvers future proofed their work by installing larger than required infrastructure such as effluent and milk storage.

The Carvers are progressively retiring erosion prone land. Working with the Taranaki Regional Council Waitotara Stress Scheme they have planted 25ha of pines and 5ha of redwood in woodlots. The planting of poplar for erosion mitigation and stock shelter is ongoing. There are numerous natural springs in the farm’s hills. The largest one has been fenced and runs two water rams that form part of the reticulated stock water system with troughs in every paddock.

The Carvers will host a field day at their Meremere Road property on April 27.