Monday, 11 March 2024 11:08

Forward thinking sees farming family win award

Written by  Staff Reporters
East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards Regional Supreme Award Winners (from left), Pip, Hugo, Josi and Simon Beamish. Photo: Supplied. East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards Regional Supreme Award Winners (from left), Pip, Hugo, Josi and Simon Beamish. Photo: Supplied.

Simon and Josi Beamish and Hugo & Pip Beamish of Awapai have been announced as the regional supreme winners at the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Gisborne this week.

Awapai, which is in the WhanaWhana Valley, west of Hastings, is a 2,100ha (1,625ha effective) slice off the family’s original 7,910ha property.

The grazing and finishing farm runs about 5,500 breeding ewes, 3,700 trade lambs, 850 beef cattle, 300 bulls and 300 Wagyu beef cattle. All animals are finished on-farm except for the Wagyu.

The judges say they were impressed with the use of innovation, technology and modern ideas, all implemented within the framework of a well-established and enduring family business.

Research guides the approach to farming, with Simon and Hugo matching land class to appropriate and sustainable use, and carefully managing soils.

They strive for excellence when it comes to animal welfare, ultimately targeting international markets with quality products. There is plenty of shelter for the healthy stock which enjoy a diverse range of feed.

Awapai was severely impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle last year and a significant amount of work has gone into reinstating the farm’s infrastructure. Improving the farm system’s resilience has been another focus, including having forestry on steep marginal country, and planting poplar and willow on grazed country where erosion can be managed.

To preserve and enhance native biodiversity on the property – which features five QEII National Trust Covenant blocks – there has been significant planting in and around wetlands and riparian areas.

The larger of the covenants has recently been deer fenced and Josi runs an ongoing pest control program. Hugo and Simon are working to ensure that all water leaving the property passes through retired areas which are closely managed to reduce nutrients and sediment.

As they look to the future, the Beamish family are working on a succession plan, and strive to improve the land for the next generation so it continues to bring both pleasure and prosperity to the family.

In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted that the Beamish family is not afraid of innovation, and have positioned themselves to achieve premiums for their meat and wool products through producer supply programmes, which demand high environmental and biodiversity outcomes

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