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Andrew and Lynnore Templeton, who own and operate The Rocks Station, near Middlemarch, won the regional supreme title at the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Dunedin.
The awards are run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust and the supreme regional winners from each of the 11 districts will be profiled at the awards’ National Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton on June 6.
The Templetons also won the Massey University Innovation Award, which recognises the farmer or grower that demonstrated Kiwi ingenuity for solving a problem or pursuing a new opportunity.
They also won the Norwood Agri-Business Management Award and the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award.
Other award winners include Tim and Kirsten O’Sullivan, of Alexandra, Mathew and Catherine Korteweg, of Kaitangata, Stephen and Annabel Crawford, of Clydevale, and Dennis and Margaret Larsen, of Tuapeka Flat.
The Templetons run a thriving business against a challenging environmental backdrop.
The Rocks Station has excelled thanks to the use of good genetics and innovative breeding with a productive and profitable sheep flock of merinos and half-breeds.
The judges noted the excellent condition of the stock.
Mr Templeton has a strong passion for wool and this is a key component in their sheepbreeding efforts, with impressive returns, including 40,000kg in annual wool production.
They have established breeding policies to introduce specific genes — Inverdale and GDF9 — and maintain hybrid vigour.
Through diversification of stock classes, they have increased income.
During the past 15 years a significant amount of work has been undertaken to improve the business, including 150ha of irrigation, 100ha of reseeding and 40km of fencing, some of which has been introduced to exclude stock from most of the Taieri River.
The judges commended a solid recording system for nutrient management.
The couple are starting to look at ways to plant and enhance biodiversity on-farm.
The judges noted a good use of break crops to eliminate weeds and that the couple made a judicious decision about selecting the appropriate pasture species for the climate and area.
A comprehensive animal health plan is in action and Mrs Templeton contributes the extensive knowledge of animal health and parasitology she has obtained from previous work experience.
The Rocks Station also uses an electronic solar panel system on the woolshed, which supplements power to the farmhouse and woolshed.