Soil conservation work wins Breeza farmer Brownhill Cup

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Breeza cotton and grain grower John Hamparsum and his family have been awarded one of the top farming accolades in Australia, the Brownhill Cup for their commitment to land and soil preservation.

Soil conservation work wins Breeza farmer Brownhill Cup
Left to right: Juanita Hamparsum, Commonwealth Bank Regional and Agribusiness Banking NSW general manager Tim Harvey, 2015 Bronwhill Cup winner John Hamparsum and Commonwealth Bank Regional and Agribusiness Banking executive general manager Geoff Wearne.

The award ceremony was held at the AgQuip farming field days in Gunnedah, New South Wales yesterday.   

Presented by Commonwealth Bank and the Brownhill family, the Brownhill Cup is awarded annually in recognition of innovative farming practices that improve sustainability, productivity and profitability in agriculture.

Commonwealth Bank Regional and Agribusiness Banking NSW general manager Tim Harvey says the Hamparsum family’s passion for improving land viability landed them the prestigious accolade this year.

"Their interest goes well beyond their own farm gate, and promotes best practice farming that will help secure the future of the wider industry," he says.

Hamparsum has a particular interest in soil fertilisers and has developed a scientific approach to fertiliser use that manages nutrient depletion in the soil.

"We’ve taken an approach that uses elements found naturally in the soil," he says.

"Through application of micro nutrients and microform phosphates and by promoting native soil micro-flora and fauna activity, we can use smaller amounts of fertiliser inputs and still offer maximum consumption by plants.

"It also helps replace the nutrients that the crops have taken out. The result is healthier soil in the long term."

By testing and implementing new approaches, Hamparsum has not only improved his soil, but also increased his yields.

"These techniques have allowed us to reduce our input consumption to 8kg per hectare as opposed to the 100kg normally used," he says.

Hamparsum strongly believes in the conservation of Australia’s farming land and believes soil preservation is the key.

"My aim is to replace what the crops are taking out of the soil so that I can pass on to my children better, more fertile land," he says.

"The black soils of the Liverpool Plains are unique. We have to fight hard to preserve them for the long-term future.

"I’m always looking to innovate and share new ideas. It’s important to trial, test and analyse the results to keep improving."

Hamparsum is currently working with a company in Western Australia which is developing products that promote the soil’s ability to produce organic forms of nitrogen which increase the microbe population and encourage plant productivity and diversity.

Brownhill Cup spokesperson, Gordon Brownhill commended Hamparsum on his achievements.

"John’s passion for agriculture is unbelievably strong and the work he’s done towards soil conservation is invaluable," he says.

"The results achieved not only improved his own yields, but will help shape industry best practice."

In addition to receiving the cup, the Hamparsum family received a $2,000 prize from Commonwealth Bank and the Brownhill family to help them further develop their award-winning on-farm practices.

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