Second award to couple

Kaiwera farmers Andrew and Heather Tripp have won the supreme title in the Southland Ballance farm awards for the second time.

Since first winning the title in the inaugural Southland awards in 2002, Mr and Mrs Tripp have added a dairy farm to their diverse farming operation based on Nithdale Station.

Along with sheep, beef, dairy and forestry, the 1635ha property also runs a genetics business, comprising Romney and Suffolk sheep, and a farmstay.

Judges praised the Tripps' commitment and passion for the land, which was first settled by Mr Tripp's grandfather in 1924.

Carrying 17,000 stock units, Nithdale was described as a large property with six enterprises running all at once and ''excellence sought from every stream of operation''.

The 275ha (effective) dairy unit was established in 2008. Sharemilkers Jan and Catherine de Klerk milk more than 830 cows. Production of 1309kg ms/ha was achieved last season.

A feed pad for up to 600 cows was built two years ago and helped prevent soil pugging.

Pasture utilisation, weed control and overall aesthetics were excellent, with established trees providing future income, biodiversity and shelter.

All waterways on the dairy unit had been riparian fenced with generous buffer zones.

Judges also noted the Tripps' focus on retaining as much red tussock and indigenous vegetation as possible during hill development.

A field day will be held at Nithdale Station on Tuesday, April 29.