Monday, 11 March 2024 14:55

Te Puke farmers win award

Written by  Staff Reporters
Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Award Regional Supreme Award winners (from left) Blair Linton, Linda Ellison, and Robert Linton. Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Award Regional Supreme Award winners (from left) Blair Linton, Linda Ellison, and Robert Linton.

The family behind Te Ranga farms have won the regional supreme award at the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The family is focused on optimising the farming system, while protecting and enhancing its natural beauty and freshwater.

The 296ha farm has been in the Linton family since 1973.

Since the early 1980s, it has been owned and managed by Robert Linton and Linda Ellison. Since 2022, their son Blair Linton has leased the property, continuing the same farming system.

The team is currently rearing just over 500 Friesian bull calves on the Te Puke property.

Judges were impressed with the farming system which has been optimized over time to match land use and class. Animal numbers and stock type are carefully managed to match the pasture growth curve.

Decisions are driven by data from a wide range of sources, ensuring the family has a complete picture of the farm. Supporting this is a strict adherence to clear, measurable key performance indicators around such things as calf-weight and feeding plans.

In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted that the family’s operation is underpinned by a family approach to gaining knowledge, appreciating their environment and their sense of place within it, open and productive communication, and connection to a supportive community.

 The awards also served to showcase local catchment group Paraiti Catchment Care Group, which is a farmer-led group working to increase native biodiversity along an established bush corridor and the wider Kaituna catchment.

Since forming in 2020, the group has largely focused on protecting the area’s significant native forests from pests and predators, ultimately aiming to boost biodiversity.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are run by the NZ Farm Environment Trust and champion sustainable farming and growing.

The Supreme Winner from each of the eleven regions involved in the awards will go through to be considered for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the Trust’s National Showcase in Hamilton in June. The recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy then become 2024’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing.

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