James Crutchley stands in his kale crop at Palmerston.
Maniototo farmer David Crutchley is a finalist in the
inaugural Green Agriculture Innovation Awards.
Mr Crutchley, of Shortlands Station, near Kyeburn, has won
the BioAg Pastoral award, which looks at all aspects of
pastoral and livestock farming, excluding dairy.
Judges looked at herd health, pasture and soil management and
the effects the farming system had on the land resources for
The Crutchley family have made changes in recent years to
their farming operation, which previously was not
A threefold approach was taken, encompassing changes to the
sheep and fertiliser policies and becoming involved in a
business mentoring programme.
Mr Crutchley said the award confirmed the path they were on.
It was nice to be acknowledged as the journey could be
He and his wife Glenis farm at Shortlands, with son Charles,
while their other son James farms at Palmerston. Daughter
Zara is a registered valuer.
Mr Crutchley was ''hugely indebted'' to what Bill Thompson,
of Healthy Soils, told him when he turned up at the property
in 2008 and was able to describe what was happening to the
soil and why they were not growing grass.
Shortlands Station's economic and management parameters have
been benchmarked to the South Island hill-country sector.
Gross farm income at Shortlands Station in 2012-13 was
$99.96/stock unit, compared with $81.04 for the sector
average and $105.31 in 2013-14 compared with $85.08.
Mr Crutchley was happy to do presentations and share the
knowledge he had picked up.
''We're not contaminating anything here but we're getting our
production going,'' he said.
Lincoln University student Genevieve Steven, of Timaru, who
won the Viafos Youth Award, is the youngest contender for the
Ms Steven (20) is in her second year at Lincoln, on a DairyNZ
scholarship, studying biochemistry, animal sciences, plant,
sciences, soil science and management papers.
Her ultimate goal was a move into biological farming. She
wanted to be an educator and adviser to farmers already using
biological farming principles, but also taking the concept to
those who did not know much about it.
''I enjoy the challenge of changing people's perceptions,''
Association of Biological Farmers spokeswoman Nicole Masters
said the awards had attracted strong nominations across all
categories, which was evidence biological farming had gained
a ''strong foothold'' in New Zealand.
The supreme winner will be announced in Rotorua on August 6.