Wayne McIntosh (pictured) and his parents, Stuart and
Sharyn, hosted a field day on their Earnscleugh orchard
recently. Mr McIntosh and his family won the 2014 Otago
region Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award. Photos by
Continual reinvestment, innovation and sustainability are
some of the key drivers of partners Wayne, Stuart and Sharyn
McIntosh's successful orchard business.
As the supreme winner of the 2014 Otago region Ballance Farm
Environment Awards (BFEA), Wayne McIntosh and his parents
hosted an open day recently, inviting a large crowd to view
A former teacher and rugby player, Mr McIntosh began managing
the 64ha Earnscleugh property about 10 years ago.
About 40ha of that is planted with 34,000 trees, of which 30%
are under 7 years old.
In addition to producing cherries, peaches, nectarines,
apricots and apples, Mr McIntosh is also trialling new fruit
varieties, including Honeycrisp apples.
He had also planted a feijoa grove and about 200 kiwiberry
plants but it was too early to make any judgements about the
success of the trials.
''Five percent of production is for new market
opportunities,'' he said.
BFEA judge Judy Miller said the family had a long-term
sustainability focus through management of soil and water
resources, tree health and wise agrichemical use.
They took an innovative and multi-generational approach to
the orchard. She said Mr McIntosh had an excellent knowledge
of microclimates and soil type and was a keen believer in
mulching and fertigation, as well as using green manure crops
to improve organic material.
Mr McIntosh said his family had been on the property since
1881, when it was in cropping, and in 1910 the first fruit
trees were planted and a sheep farm established.
They employ eight full-time staff and between 40 and 50
The property has a nursery and they buy in trees as dormant
buds to allow for replanting when appropriate.
''Trees are border planted to ensure that when we do
frost-fight, water is not sitting around the roots, and they
get more sunshine and more worm activity,'' he said.
In addition to the constant replanting, they have established
shelter belts, native plantings and green spaces for people
as well as to encourage the birds and the bees.
Visitors to the McIntosh family orchard for the Ballance
Farm Environment Awards field day recently were treated to
a crisp autumn afternoon.
Mr McIntosh said they had an integrated, organised water
management system, using flood irrigation as well as under- and
over-tree sprinklers, a monitoring system and water storage
from five dams, plus a new one that was being built.
Marketing their fruit with the slogan ''Capturing sunlight in
a form you can eat'', Mr McIntosh said he kept ''tweaking the
That meant constantly monitoring cost structures. As an
example, they pruned trees so that fruit could be harvested
by people on footstools rather than on ladders.
They sell to domestic and international markets in China,
Europe and the United States, forming exclusive marketing
relationships with select companies.
Mr McIntosh encouraged others to enter the BFEA awards,
saying there were many benefits to doing so, including having
people assess the business and receiving constructive
feedback without having to pay for it.
In addition to the supreme award, he won the Ballance
Agri-Nutrients Soil Management, the Hill Laboratories
Harvest, the Massey University Innovation and the Waterford
Integrated Management Awards.
Mr McIntosh will attend the BFEA Sustainability Showcase in
Christchurch on June 26.