Community sunflowers part of winning formula

By Laurel Stowell

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SUPREME WINNERS: Ben and Belinda Price and farm owner David Hopkins.PHOTO/ GERRY LE ROUX
SUPREME WINNERS: Ben and Belinda Price and farm owner David Hopkins.PHOTO/ GERRY LE ROUX

The maize planted at a Waitotara dairy farm this season included a patch of sweetcorn and a swathe of sunflowers to share.

It is just one example of why the Nukumaru dairy farm owned by David and Adrienne Hopkins and worked by sharemilkers Ben and Belinda Price won the supreme title at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards on Thursday night.

The sweetcorn they grew was shared between owners, staff and their families and friends.

The sunflowers were sold to a Whanganui florist and the proceeds given to Waverley Primary School.

For that and other community involvement, the farm won an award for its relationships with people. And it won another for dairy excellence and another for conservation. The supreme award was the icing on the cake.

Harkaway now goes to national finals in June, and David Hopkins said he hoped to bring the Gordon Stephenson trophy back to the region.

Farm 50:50 sharemilkers Ben and Belinda Price are double winners.

They were judged Share Farmers of the Year in the Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards on March 4. The farm, 248ha in Nukumaru Station Rd, has a field day recognising that on Tuesday.

There will be another field day marking the Farm Environment win, with the date to be decided.

David and Adrienne Hopkins bought the flat to rolling farm in 1993 and converted it to dairy.

It now milks 680 cows, with most feed coming off the property. Only replacement cows are grazed off the farm for a year.

Last season the herd produced 242,362kg of milk solids and their effluent is spread over 65ha. .

As well as the Prices, the farm has two fulltime and one part-time staff member.

They are provided with training, and the farm is also used for educational visits.

When the Hopkins bought the property it had only two trees and no wetlands.

It was the first farm they had owned and their four children helped with planting.

It now has lots of trees - 50 native species, 24 ornamental and shelter species and a new shelter clone called Rahotu they have pioneered.

The waterway that runs through it in winter has planting along it, and a 0.5ha wetland is being added, with help from Waverley Primary School children.

They hope the wetland will filter and remove 70 per cent of the nutrients and sediment in farm run-off.

The result of all those maturing trees is a wonderful place to work, Mrs Price said.

It is the third sharemilking job she and her husband have had.

They have been on the farm for two years and get on well with the owners. Their 7 and 9-year-old children go to Waverley Primary School.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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