Min­i­mal in­put key to suc­cess for trust

South Waikato News - - Rural Delivery - GER­ALD PIDDOCK

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.

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