Minimal input key to success for trust
Years of prudent financial management by the Tewi Trust have put the dairy farm business in an enviable position amidst the dairy slump.
Its strong focus on debt reduction and low-input farming has put the 138-hectare Tirau farm above Dairybase district benchmarks for profit and production and below them for expenses.
Its success saw it named a finalist for the Ahuwhenua Trophy, which celebrates Ma¯ori excellence in farming, a feat trust chairwoman Tuhi Watkinsoncalled ‘‘our greatest achievement’’.
The other two finalists for the trophy are Nga¯i Tahu Farming Limited and The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporation.
The trust recently held a field day attended by over 300 people.
The farm is owned by 53 people affiliated to Ngati Raukawa and is overseen by a six-person trust board headed by Watkinson. Husband Ron acts as trustee advisor and the farm is run by herdowning sharemilkers Peter and Louise Butler, who have worked on the farm for 18 years.
The trust’s ultimate aim was to build a strong and viable business for future generations, board member Kiriape Maaka said.
‘‘Our long term plan is to expand the farm over the next 20 years. There are several blocks of family land in the area and we are working to amalgamate three of these.’’
These blocks would also be used to carry extra stock and grow more supplementary feed.
‘‘In the future it makes sense to buy another economic dairy unit, leveraging the current farm to expand.’’
The farm winters 460 cows, targeting 180,000 kilograms milk solids (kgms). The pasture-based system 2 farm uses palm kernel in spring and maize in autumn to fill feed deficits and extend lactation. Adjacent to the main farm is another 13ha of leased land used to graze young stock and grow maize.
The farm’s greatest strength was its high equity, the integrity of those running it and its location in an excellent dairying area, Maaka said.
Maintaining strong relationships with businesses was also key. ‘‘We ensure they are always paid by the due date.
The winner of the 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy will be announced at a function in Hamilton on May 20.
Peter and Louise Butler have worked for 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists, the Tewi Trust, for 18 years.
The Tewi Trust winters 460 cows which are run as two herds to produce 1300 kilograms milksolids a hectare.