Brownhill Cup Awarded At Commonwealth Bank Agquip Today

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19th August 2009, 12:36pm - Views: 1446

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Prestigious Brownhill Cup awarded to Australian farming duo for

“conservation farming”

Wednesday 19 August, 2009: An innovative husband and wife team have been awarded the

prestigious Brownhill Cup today during a ceremony at Commonwealth Bank AgQuip for their

practice of “conservation farming” (also known as no till, or zero till farming). 

The Brownhill Cup, designed to encourage innovative practices that improve sustainability and

profitability in agriculture, was awarded to Bede and Narelle Burke at “Glendon” in Tamworth New

South Wales, for their outstanding practice of no tillage farming. 

“I am thrilled to be presented with the Brownhill Cup – it is extremely rewarding to be recognised

by leaders in the industry and also by peers. I’d like to extend my thanks to the Brownhill family,

as well as all the Brownhill Cup supporters for making it possible – the Commonwealth Bank,

NSW Farmers Association and the NSW Department of Primary Industries,” Mr Burke said. 

Purchased in 1994 by Bede and his wife Narelle, Glendon is a thriving farming enterprise. Today,

the property has been restored to exceptional quality and sound profitability – growing wheat,

barley and grain sorghum, milling these grains into feed for the layer enterprise, comprising

53,000 birds, beef cattle and prime lamb production.

The Burkes are exceptionally committed to the pasture improvement of their property. For the

past 25 years, Glendon crops and pastures have been sown via direct drill, with zero tillage

playing an important part in eliminating soil erosion, improving soil quality and productivity. 

“We decided to commit to increasing our area of conservation farming after the 2000 drought and

it made a huge difference in the amount of moisture we were able to conserve,” Mr Burke said.

Glendon’s soil conditions at planting are now superior to soils in conventionally farmed paddocks

due to the no till system. Farmers throughout the region are most interested in Glendon’s

fallowing system and planting operation. 

“We’ve also had improved success with red soils,” he said. “Some had given up on the worst of

red soils however with a good spray rig and planter suited to the conditions, we’ve managed to

make it work.”

“Since converting to no tillage, spraying of fallows takes between three to four days. With

traditional tillage we could never catch up on weed control and land preparation.” 

The Burkes said that they’ve had ups and downs during the no till process; “however, our real

success has been achieved in the past four years since we purchased a good spray rig, spreader

planter and guidance system (GPS) suited to the conditions,” Mr Burke said.

Glendon also houses a well-established and large-layered chicken enterprise which is completely

computerised and has 53,000 birds growing to 106,000 in June 2010, and rearing of 27,000

pullets every 20 weeks.

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“Our chicken enterprise generates 1,500 tonnes of manure annually which is all spread on our

farm fields. In fact, 15 tonnes of chicken manure is generated every three days.”

David Brownhill, founder of the Brownhill Cup said, “It is important to acknowledge the great work

being done by Australian farmers to improve sustainability and profitability within the agriculture

sector. Bede’s efforts in sustainable farming and innovation will go a long way in ensuring the

sector’s growth and prosperity as it is handed down to future generations.”

“The improved pastures and land management adopted at Glendon stands the property in a

sound position to handle the unpredictable nature of the industry,” Mr Brownhill said.  

Brendan White, Executive General Manager, Commonwealth Bank Agribusiness, presented

Bede and Narelle with their award at the official presentation, held at the Commonwealth Bank


“Innovation is an essential part of farming practice, and the Burkes impressed the committee with

the various practices adopted on Glendon. The Brownhill Cup recognises and rewards a selected

farmer for their innovative practices and ongoing hard work and Bede and his wife Narelle have

done just that,” Mr White said. 

“The Commonwealth Bank is committed to providing financial services to the country’s

agricultural industry, and our sponsorship of the Brownhill Cup is just one way in which we

demonstrate our recognition and support of conservation farming techniques that lead towards a

sustainable future for agriculture.”

The Commonwealth Bank is proud to be associated with the Brownhill family and the Brownhill

Cup. The Bank thanks the Brownhill family for their foresight, leadership and support in

encouraging and promoting sustainable farming principles.


For further information, please contact:

Elise Havenstein

Commonwealth Bank

M: 0418 636 316


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Sydney NSW 1155

Notes to editors


Brownhill Cup Background

The Brownhill Cup was donated by the Brownhill family of Merrilong, Spring Ridge, as a perpetual

trophy to encourage landholders to apply conservation farming and efficient management

practices on their properties.

The award began in 1984 as the Livestock and Grain Producers’ Association ‘Soil Conservation

Farmer of the Year’ held between Quirindi, Currabubula/Werris Creek, Pottinger, Gunnedah and

Boggabri District Councils. The Brownhill Cup today recognises both resource conservation and

management innovation in the northern farming zone.

Last year the Brownhill Cup was won by Sam Clifton, at “Penalva”, located 40km east of

Coonabarabran towards Tambar Springs for his outstanding pasture improvement and land


The award has attracted wide community interest and is well supported by landowners and the

agricultural industry. 

The objectives of the award are: 

to stimulate the adoption of conservation farming practices,

to encourage the development of farming practices that will achieve sustainable long-term

productivity from the land,

to demonstrate the economic viability of land management practices that are applied to

various land capability classes, and

to develop within the community a land stewardship ethic to secure the future welfare of

the district and its people.

It has been awarded to property, people, machinery innovation, landcare groups and the adoption

of ISO14001. 

The Brownhill Cup is sponsored by Commonwealth Bank Agribusiness and the Brownhill Family,

and supported by NSW Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Farmers Association.

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