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Tony Coltman and Dana Carver win Canterbury Supreme award at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Tony Coltman and Dana Carver of Canlac Holdings have been named the Canterbury Supreme Winners in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards champion sustainable farming and growing through an awards programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. These Regional Supreme Winners will be profiled at the Awards’ National Sustainability Showcase in Wellington on Thursday 4 June, with each in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

Being early adopters of research and methods to reduce their environmental footprint was one of the key reasons Canlac Holdings at Dunsandel, won the Canterbury Supreme Award. The judges said Tony and Dana were farming sustainably in terms of the environment, people and economically.

“They show a great commitment and knowledge of reducing nitrate leaching,” the judges said.

In addition, the couple has clear goals for both themselves and the health and wellbeing of staff, plus are heavily involved in off-farm activities.

“They demonstrate excellent leadership and motivation to connect with the wider community.”

Canlac Holdings was a high-performing farm when Tony and Dana took over in 2013 and their focus on good management practice means they have lifted it to another level. At the same time, there has been an impressive reduction in the farm’s environmental footprint – including cutting nitrogen leaching by about 50%.  

Stock health is a priority, along with a strong focus on maximising the high-genetic herd through strategic breeding and the retention of first calvers.
Tony and Dana are keen to leave the farm in top condition for future generations and have an ongoing planting programme underway that includes shelter and native plants. The farm’s effluent area has been significantly increased, while they’re continually improving the sophisticated irrigation system and maintaining soil fertility. 

Tony and Dana entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to profile their sustainable business and demonstrate how farmers care for their environment. 


In addition to the 2020 Supreme Regional Award, they also received the:

  • Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award
  • DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award
  • Synlait Climate Stewardship Award
  • WaterForce Wise with Water Award


Each year, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards’ ceremonies, the National Sustainability Showcase and winners' field days offer a unique, pan-sector forum for the sharing of ideas and information among farming and grower peers, agri-business professionals and the wider community.


Other 2020 Award Winners

Robin Oakley, Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables – Southbridge

  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
  • Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award
  • Massey University Innovation Award


Taking notice of the small things is proving to be a recipe for success at Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables.  
Operating over 400ha, this Canterbury vegetable producer is the main supplier of potatoes, beetroot, pumpkin and broccoli to one of the South Island’s biggest food chains.  
Owner Robin Oakley says it can be the small things and observations that make all the difference to sustainably producing quality vegetables. To enhance crop performance, his team keeps a close eye on crop rotations, soil cultivation, soil nutrients and irrigation, while adapting to environmental conditions.  

An innovative, agile approach is taken across the business, resulting in consistently high-quality vegetables that meet the changing demands of consumers.

Mike & Nicky Salvesen, Wakare – Mount Somers

  • Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award
  • Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award


A progressive vision for the future is guiding this Canterbury beef and deer farm, enabling it to adapt to changing conditions and reduce its environmental footprint.

The main block runs calving cows and breeding bulls for dairy herds, deer for venison production and about 1,000 lambs. Genetic measurements are tracked as the business strives to continually improve the quality of the animals. A second block runs dairy grazers and Wagyu beef, providing capital protection and forming part of the succession planning.

Numerous improvements have been made to the property in terms of both production and protecting the environment – including a significant tree-planting programme. 

All activities are guided by an acute awareness of how they can affect the local and wider environment.


Richard & Chrissie Wright, Tamar Farm – Mount Somers

  • Norwood Agri-Business Management Award


Scale is no barrier, and attention to detail paramount, at this property that has grown considerably since the Wrights bought it in 2002. 

The farm is self-contained in terms of stock replacements and grazing, ensuring a profitable and productive business with very healthy animals. The hands-on managers are passionate about farming and proud of their team members – actively advancing them into farming. 

A significant number of trees have been planted on the property, including shelter belts, ornamental and native plantings. The farm has responsible grazing practices and crop rotation, a focus on energy efficiency and technology, and excellent management of nutrients. 

The business is an inspiring example of a family committed to advancing good people into farming and providing options for family succession.

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