Zimmatic Blog

Finalists Announced For Sustainable Irrigation Awards

Jul 15, 2020

Finalists Announced For Sustainable Irrigation Awards

Eight farmers from Australia and New Zealand have been selected as finalists of the Zimmatic™ Sustainable Irrigation Awards.

The Awards aim to celebrate excellence in sustainable irrigation and encourage Australian and New Zealand farmers to share ideas for achieving sustainable water management. Four finalists from each country have been selected from a pool of quality entries.

The Australian finalists for 2020 are:

  • Evan Ryan of “Clontarf”, Yarrawonga, Victoria who runs a1000ha property (586ha irrigated) producing broadacre winter and summer grain, hay and fibre production.

  • Stephen Eyles (pictured with his sons) of Hillcrest Family Trust, Selbourne, Tasmania whose 400ha property (250ha irrigated) includes mixed cropping, sheep and fat lambs.

  • Rob and Eliza Tole of “Greenvale”, Cressy, Tasmania who run a mixed cropping and livestock operation on a 560ha property with 350ha irrigated.

  • Brendan Watson of Kilter Rural, Lake Boga, Victoria who runs a large Irrigated cropping enterprise with 3,000-ewe sheep flock on 9070ha with 3730ha irrigated. 

The New Zealand finalists for 2020 are:

  • Ben and Anna Gillespie of Two Farmers Faming Ltd in Central Otago, who run a dairy grazing and beef finishing operation on their 394ha property with 230ha irrigated.

  • Brock and Gemma Hamilton of “Avon Glen” in North Otago, who run a dairy farming operation on a 375ha property with 250ha irrigated.

  • Ted Rollinson from Mid-Canterbury, who is dairy farming on a 380ha property with 360ha irrigated.

  • Nick Webster of “Totara Fields” and “Hillbrook Dairies” in North Otago which are mixed beef finishing/cropping and dairy operations totalling 700ha of which 550ha is irrigated.

Irrigation NZ chair and Irricon Resource Solutions principal, Keri Johnston, is head judge for the overall competition. She says the finalists demonstrated a high-level of achievement across all four categories, which set them apart from the others.

“The finalists demonstrated a level of considered decision-making in relation to irrigation system design. They are all using technology to their advantage, while taking steps to maximise efficiency and minimise environmental impacts.” 

Independent Australian regional judge Dr. Pat Hulme noted that the finalists had included farmers with an incredible diversity of enterprises, yet they had a common focus on resource management.

“We saw each of the finalists articulate, in their own way, how they see their role as stewards and caretakers of the natural resources – and they all had an eye to the long‑term health of their land and water assets.”

Awards Coordinator Sarah Elliot says the judges were impressed by the standard of entries and effort that went into many of the submissions.

“A huge thank you to all those farmers who stepped up to share their story and inspire others. We know it’s not always easy to put yourself or your business forward.'“ 

“The Trailblazer Awards are all about recognising farmers leading the way. Congratulations to all our finalists. You are an inspiration to your peers and have demonstrated you are in it boots and all when it comes to sustainable irrigation management.”

On-farm judging will take place in the Spring before the supreme winner is announced.