Friday 24 October 2014, with Carol Stiles, Susan Murray, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes & Duncan Smith
Ashburton dairy farmers Mark and Devon Slee are the national winners of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
It's the first time a dairying operation has won the top national award and they were chosen ahead of nine other regional winners.
Devon believes their efficient farming system caught the eye of the judges.
"We were able to show that investments we had made on farm in our resources, our people and our land were giving us a lot of benefits from an environmental and economic way."
The Slees, who employ 14 fulltime staff, run a highly profitable dairy business and, at the same time, ensure the environment is managed extremely well.
They milk 2500 cows on a milking platform of 624 hectares and have a particular focus on the efficient use of water and effluent.
The property is fully irrigated and, in areas where trees have been removed to accommodate the irrigation system, they've planted more than 10,000 natives to create low shelter beneath the centre pivots.
"The micro climate that the centre pivot provides with the watering has certainly suited them, so we've got Hebes, Pittosporum, Flaxes, Toetoes, Karakas, the odd broadleaf out there so there's quite an eclectic mix and they're just such a pleasure to have on the farm."
Sticky, Smelly and Sought After.....NZ Wool Grease
Cavalier Wool Scourers CEO Nigel Hales with a sample from a batch of exported wool grease and below, New Zealand wool grease in production.
New Zealand wool grease earns the economy up to $30 million dollars a year. Because our sheep eat lush green grass, wool grease produced here differs in its chemical make up to other types of wool grease globally. Wool grease is used in cosmetics, to rust proof military machinery, to feed fish, and in medicines.
Barbara Taylor of Kakahi talks about house prices in the small King Country Settlement. She also chats about why she and her husband ended up in the town in 1976.
There's been astonishing grass growth in parts of the North Island while the South has been an island of extremes, it's been very dry at the top and very wet at the bottom.