Thursday, April 25, 2024

Stewarts notch up top Ballance award for Horizons 

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Tradition of innovation and stewardship recognised.
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Stewart Dairylands has won the Balance Farm Environment Supreme Award for the Horizons region.

James, Debbie, Dave and Jan Stewart are the driving force behind Stewart Dairylands in Hiwinui, which is one of three companies in the Stewart Group. 

Their farm is the dairy division, with 800 cows across 580ha (560ha effective).

Stewart Dairylands was established in 1999, although five generations of Stewarts have farmed and expanded the legacy business that was started in 1886. 

Guided by a strong sense of family history, the Stewarts said they see the land as a precious commodity that the family should continue to treat carefully so it’s in a better shape for the next generation.

Exploring opportunities for diversification is part of the business strategy for the entrepreneurial family, with value streams from dairy beef, as well as supplying milk for boutique cheese and ice cream. In partnership, they also offer farm tours.

Native plantings enhance the natural environment, including the development of native corridors with walkways and a wetland area – all of which are shared with visitors and the wider community.

The judges were impressed with well-planned infrastructure developments, including a new dairy shed with solar panels, and a modern effluent system with a separator. They noted that the Stewarts continuously seek improvement and innovation in stock management, infrastructure and technology. 

The family was commended for being highly engaged in the wider farming industry, and taking a proactive approach to address and embrace challenges.

James, Debbie, Dave and Jan Stewart also won the following awards:

• Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award

• DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award

• Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award

• NZFET Biodiversity Award

• NZFET Innovation Award

• NZFET Climate Recognition Award

• Margaret Matthews Trophy for Commitment to Sustainability

Other Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Award winners include:

Mark Chrystall, Richard Chrystall and Rob Collier — Spring Farms, Moawhango

• Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award

• Hill Labs Agri-Science Award

Hugh & Noelene Donald — Toa Toa Farming, Kakatahi

• Horizons Regional Council Award for the Integration of Trees

Peter & Ally Apthorp and Nathan Ebbett — Springview Agriculture, Mangahao & MakoMako

• Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award

• Norwood Farming Efficiency Award

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