Avery Family Win Award

The Avery family have won the 2010 'South Island Farmer of The Year' competition for their work adapting farm management systems in response  to increasingly dry conditions. Their prize is an education and travel package valued at $15,000.

Doug Avery, his wife Wendy, their son Fraser and daughter-in-law Shelly earned the award after a thorough process that culminated in a presentation to a panel of judges from Lincoln University. Previously the panel had made 2 visits to the Avery family Bonnavaree farm to see the work first hand.

After the award ceremony Doug singled out his son Fraser for special praise;

"His application to the fine detail of farming is amazing. He's my boss and he's a wonderful guy to work for."

NZ Landcare Trust Regional Coordinator Barbara Stuart was delighted when she heard the news. Barbara helped Doug and a group of concerned farmers get together and form the 'Starborough/Flaxbourne Soil Conservation Group' in 2004. They were then able to to design a project, apply for research funds and seek help from specialists. The result was a 3 year project entitled 'Changing attitudes and practices for farming dry land in Marlborough'.

Doug was Chairman of the group and helped identify sustainable and profitable farm systems. 

'A key change has been an increased emphasis on lucerne as a greenfeed rather than supplement. A grazing system has evolved to rapidly grow lambs so they are finished before the summer dry sets in and on time to capture early-season premiums. Extra profits earned from this practice have been invested in restoring damaged hill slopes by the planting of drought-resilient fodder crop species including saltbush and lucerne. (taken from 'Beyond Reasonable Drought' - the final project report).