Campbell’s Comment – Farmer of the Year

May 2019

A relatively mild Autumn has seen mixed results in Hawke’s Bay and it’s all down to rainfall. Talking with our rural community it always amazes me how we can have vastly different weather patterns from one end of the region to the other, or even 15 minutes down the road. Just when we think winter is on it’s way with a cold front and temperatures sub 10 degrees, the following day it’s back up around 20 degrees.

If you have managed to get some rain lately chances are you’ll be enjoying some great autumn conditions.  We are into our second autumn with a strong lamb schedule – presently at $7.65kg CW compared to the same time 2 years ago where it was $6.18. For most that equates to an extra $30 per head. Consequently we have seen some decent returns from sheep over the past couple of seasons and well overdue I say. How long will it last? Hard to say, but make the most of it.

Interest rates have never been so low and combined with decent sheep and beef returns the agricultural land price in the Bay has taken another leap.  Horticultural land value has been consistent but relatively good value compared to other districts.  Couple that with the influx of people wanting to live here and things are looking quite rosy in the Bay.

I attended the Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year field day recently. The winners this year were Jason Daly & Louise Harvey who farm friesian bulls at Te Onepu. It was put on by the HB A&P Society and was a very well organised event on an absolutely stunning day. The farm looked in pristine condition and is a real credit to Jason & Louise.  It was great to see a grass-based finishing system with a real emphasis on clover, delivering the goods.  The points that really stood out for me were:

  • The huge attention to detail – no stone is left unturned
  • Ability to act timely – whether that be stock movements, drilling, drenching or fertiliser application, etc.
  • Achieving lots of small gains which all contributed to a healthy financial result
  • The grazing management and care of the land was hugely evident
  • Always planning ahead and reviewing constantly
  • Keeping generous covers the stock always get the best pick, are content, spend less time fighting and more time putting on weight
  • A focus on mob size and paddock cell division and stock shifts every few days
  • They knew their numbers inside out
  • A focus on farm development
  • Not afraid to spend money on the key inputs to the business, but they know exactly the financial return they get from it.
  • Keeping things simple
  • A strong family unit where everyone backs each other

We are proud to support Jason Daly and Louise Harvey in their rural business and congratulate them on winning Silver Fern Farms Farmer Of The Year 2019.

If you think you would like to enter in the HB Farmer of the year competition then get in contact with the HB A&P Society. It’s a good opportunity to think about your farming business in a different way and understand which areas need more focus.