About 70 people joined the Brown family on their family sheep and beef farm earlier this month when they opened their gates for the 2020 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) Field Day.
Organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the field day included presentations from the team and a walk around the Browns' award-winning Mangamingi property.
The Browns received a suite of awards at this year's BFEA, as well as being named Taranaki's Regional Supreme Winner. They are now in the running for the national Gordon Stephenson Trophy which will be presented at the BFEA National Sustainability Showcase in March next year.
Producing quality stock while improving their property's environmental footprint is a key focus for the Browns, with the impressive operation playing to the strengths of all family members.
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The Browns have significantly grown Rukumoana Farms over the past 34 years. The family wants to leave a positive legacy, striving hard to produce quality stock while improving the farm's environmental footprint.
To help offset greenhouse gas emissions, 32ha of trees were planted under the Afforestation Grant Scheme in 2011, plus 12ha of bush retired. Three wetland areas have been fenced off and numerous native plants put in, while poplar poles are used for erosion control and shade, and predators are actively managed.
A direct drill is used to plant fattening crops – a no-tillage approach that helps conserve the soil. Fertiliser is carefully managed and the family makes good use of an on-farm spring – using it for both homes and animals. A solar pump system is used to move water through a gravity-fed trough system.