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Ashburton dairy farmers scoop Water Efficiency Award

Published: 5/04/2012 11:43 a.m. 

Ashburton dairy farmers Ben and Shannon Johnson have been recognised for their water efficient practices at the Canterbury regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The couple were presented with the Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award by Environment Canterbury Chair Dame Margaret Bazley at a ceremony attended by Primary Industries Minister David Carter in Christchurch on 29 March.

The award recognised the couple’s excellent awareness and management of soils and waterways. They have very good controls in place for a large operation and their water management is a prime example of this.

Ben and Shannon are in charge of an 880-hectare dairy farm which was converted in early 2005. In the first year after converting, they milked around 850 cows.

Since then through development and strategic land purchases, Ben and Shannon forecast they will be milking 2500 cows by next season.

Judges described the business as “A strong working family partnership with a clear vision and good business sense for farm development to achieve their goals.”

The judges particularly noted the couple’s use of nine aquaflex soil moisture monitoring sites. They were impressed with Ben’s and Shannon’s understanding of soils in relation to field capacity and permanent wilting point, which meant they were able to get the best from their soil moisture monitoring system.

Judges pinpointed the strength of Ben’s and Shannon’s partnership as a key aspect of their success. The couple have two children, James (4) and Alice (2).

Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award – Canterbury

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are designed to encourage farmers to support and adopt sustainable farming practices.

The Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award reflects the strategic importance of the natural resource to Canterbury and its economy.

The focus of the award is on water efficiency and in particular the efficient use of water on either dryland or irrigated farms.

To be considered for the award, entrants need to demonstrate they are measuring water inputs, and are using this information to make good water use decisions. Environmental considerations and innovation are also considered.

For more information on the awards overall and the 2012 winners, go to

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