- Gray & Marilyn Baldwin, Hamish & Jane Putt “Wuppertal Farming”
Owners Gray and Marilyn Baldwin and sharemilkers Hamish and Jane Putt are in their second season together with their 410-cow organic dairying operation, just west of Putaruru.
It is, according to the award judges, “an impressive farming operation founded on excellent working relationships with sustainability in mind throughout the business”.
The Baldwin/Putt team combines top farming practise with hard work, broad experience and, the judges noted, “big picture vision, beyond their farm gate”. Their award entry was undoubtedly a collective one and mutual respect is apparent.
The Wuppertal Farming land is in conversion to organic certification. It’s 40 percent flat to gently rolling, 40 percent rolling to hill and the balance steep.
Approximately 40 percent of the home farm is plumbed for effluent spreading and this is seen as vital. “When effluent becomes your only source of nitrogen it takes on a whole new importance,” says Gray.
Extensive tree planting is ongoing, with special attention paid to protection of waterways. The Pokaiwhenua River runs through the property and they take their responsibility for this seriously. In addition, Gray’s work for Carter Holt Harvey Properties gives him an extra insight into the importance of the river for the Kinleith Mill. The temperature of the river is regularly monitored as it runs through the property.
The Baldwins have a range of trees, from well managed pine blocks up to 14 years old, to natives in generously fenced riparian areas and the shelter and shade trees planted in rows throughout the farm. These trees are one of Marilyn Baldwin’s special areas of interest and expertise. She has chosen tree crop species including chestnut, hazelnut and feijoa with the potential of produce being sold off-farm through a Farmer’s Market.
Silver Fern Farms Livestock Award, NZ Farm Environment Award Trust Habitat Improvement Award and Gallagher Innovation Award; David Findlay, Barrachdail Farm, Cambridge.
LIC Dairy Farm Award and Environment Waikato Water Protection Award; Terry and Sue Magill, Erena Farm, Te Poi. PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award; Keith and Margaret Ormsby, Mt Pirongia.
Finalists; James and Leigh Needham, Glenlea Downs, Scotsman Valley, Andrew and Maree Palmer, Wharekawa Harbour.