[08 May/Rural Life]

Pencarrow Farm, owned by Tricia and Andy McFarlane has just won five awards in the 2019 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards for their strong environmental focus. These consist of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, the Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award, the Synlait Climate Stewardship Award and the Norwood Agri-business Management Award. The land was converted into a dairy farm in 2000, which now spans 263ha and has established plantings and native-tree shelter belts. Their contract milkers, Viana and Brad Fallaver milk 780 A2 protein-proven cows. They use different spray irrigation methods across the farm, such as pop-up sprinklers under the trees, rotator boom, hard hose guns, K lines, a lateral and pivots, which use 60% less water than the original border dyke system. Initiatives include electronic mapping of soil depth, precision soil testing, moisture monitoring with multiple probes, precision-spread fertiliser, precision placement of water and wastewater using variable rate irrigation on the pivots, dairy systems monitoring feed intake monitoring and other measurements. Viana says they aspire to be a role-model dairy farm, doing the right things to look after the environment as well as all other aspects of the farming operation. The Macfarlanes and Fallavers host workshops and education days with visits from schoolchildren, university students and international visitors. They have an open-door policy for anyone wishing to understand dairy farm practices.