Striking a balance between productivity and environmental stewardship has earned Riverton's Geordie and Frances Eade the top spot at Southland's Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

Big-picture thinking that balanced business risk with sustainability guided the development of the Eades' sheep and beef, breeding and finishing farm, Granity Downs.

The result was sustainable productivity, achieved with a highly organised operation that put family life first.

The natural beauty of Granity Downs was being carefully nurtured, including the protection of large blocks of native vegetation.

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The judges said the Eades demonstrated environmental leadership in the community by learning and showcasing good practices via their local catchment group.

"There's excellent use of monitoring and management to achieve high-yielding crops and pasture. The stock performance is outstanding, resulting in top financial performance."

Watch the Eades' video below:

The strong focus on stock and plant health at this high-output farm was supported by a Farm Focus Plan and Farm Environment Plan. Between eight and 10 soil tests were carried out every year, guiding careful fertiliser management.

As well as winning this year's Supreme Regional Award, the Eades also received:

• The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award

• The Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award

• The Environment Southland Water Quality and Biodiversity Award

The Ballance Farm Environment awards champion sustainable farming and growing through a programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved.

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As a Regional Supreme Winner, the Eades are now in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date.