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Environment finalists announced

The finalists have been found for the 10th annual East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Of the six announced yesterday, four are from this region.

The six properties, four in Gisborne and two in Hawke's Bay, went through a second round of judging this week, after entrants were initially visited in November.

Congratulations goes to Whangara's Loffler Family Trust, Manutuke forest owner Richard Clark, Matawai contract milkers Ryan Sanderson and Malinda Wynyard, Wharekopae sheep and beef farmers George and Bobbi Williams, Elsthorpe sheep, beef and deer farmers Evan and Linda Potter and Puketitiri sheep and beef farmers Dan and Billie Herries.

Awards East Coast coordinator Kate Taylor has provided details on the four Gisborne finalists.

■ Mike and Mandy Loffler have leased their 320ha sheep, beef, kiwifruit and citrus property at Whangara from the Loffler Family Trust for the past seven years.

Mike is the fourth generation on the family farm at Whangara, after taking over from his parents Richard and Jenny.

The sheep and beef breeding and finishing operation sees all progeny sold prime and there also is a 3.6ha gold kiwifruit orchard with 1.4ha under development, plus 1ha of lemons and 3ha of oranges.

Native bush blocks are cared for, native shelter belts planted and poplar and willow poles used for erosion control.

Extensive work has been done on the farm's main waterway to stop erosion and reduce sediment loss.

■ Richard Clark, Waipaoa Forests — This is a 160ha farm forestry business with a wetland development and glamping owned by father and son team David and Richard Clark at Manutuke.

Waipaoa Forests is mostly steep, north-facing hill country in two blocks — Ross Block bought in 1996 and Shanks Block bought in 2015.

Both have alternative timber species and are registered with the Emissions Trading Scheme.

An eight-hectare lake, created from an enduring wetland on the valley floor of Shanks forest, is showing enormous promise as wild fowl habitat.

There is a new glamping business on the water's edge and a downhill mountain bike track.

■ Contract milkers Ryan Sanderson and Malinda Wynyard, Hollow Point Pastures Ltd, run a 325ha dairy farm at Matawai for owners Mark Anderson and Kathleen Wynyard, Katmar Ltd.

Known locally as Homebrook, the farm milks 700 cows on a 300ha milking platform.

In the 2018/19 season, 650 cows produced 242,000 kilograms of milk solids (806kg per hectare).

Ryan and Malinda are planting trees, fencing wetlands and drains, and creating silt and excess nutrient filters to help the water ways and provide habitat for wildlife such as weka and native ducks.

Great care is taken to provide their animals with top quality feed, both grown on farm and waste fruit and vegetables brought in from local packhouses.

■ George and Bobbi Williams lease the 1050ha sheep and beef farm, Mutuera Station at Wharekopae, from George's parents Chris and Kaye.

After travelling and working in the UK, George farmed with his Dad from 2008 before leasing the farm with Bobbi in 2013.

They lamb 3500 ewes plus hoggets with 90 to 100 percent of the lamb crop finished on the farm, and calve 230 mixed-age cows with 50 to 60 percent of bull progeny finished before the second winter.

They also finish extra steers and bulls. Volcanic ash/pumice soil suits R2 wintering on swede crops.

There are plenty of mature native blocks retired from grazing and George and Bobbi also fenced off another 14ha native block in 2018.

Category award winners and the supreme winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Gisborne on March 4.

“The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are a way for farmers and growers to receive free and independent advice from rural professionals to help them improve the sustainability of their business,” said East Coast chairman Steve Wyn-Harris. “It is also a way of sharing positive stories, ideas, and resources with a wider audience.”

ENVIRO FINALIST: Richard Clark of Waipaoa Forests.
ENVIRO FINALISTS: Ryan Sanderson and Malinda Wynyard from Matawai.
ENVIRO FINALISTS: From left to right, Mike, Mandy, Jenny and Richard Loffler from Whangara.
ENVIRO FINALISTS: George and Bobbi Williams from Wharekopae.