A show­case for the en­vi­ron­ment

Wairarapa News - - FARMING -

vis­ited an award-win­ning Wairarapa farm to see what makes it stand out from the crowd.

Lo­cated both sides of a busy ru­ral road means Nathan and Kate Wil­liams’ crops, sheep and beef farm is a show­case for the agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

After win­ning the Greater Welling­ton Bal­lance Farm En­vi­ron­ment Awards ear­lier this year, Nathan and Kate Wil­liams are con­fi­dent they’re do­ing the right things and are proud of their ef­forts.

The cou­ple own 237ha on the western side of the Master­tonCastle­point road, about 4km from the out­skirts of Master­ton, and lease 100ha from Nathan’s par­ents on the eastern side of the road.

The road it­self has been the cause of headaches in the past, so $86,000 was spent on an un­der­pass be­tween the two blocks in Novem­ber-De­cem­ber 2014.

‘‘The coun­cil con­trib­uted about a quar­ter of that be­cause of the vol­ume of traf­fic on the road. It has trans­formed how we run stock across there,’’ Nathan says.

‘‘We don’t want to be re­spon­si­ble for any­thing go­ing wrong on the road,’’ Kate adds.

‘‘Mov­ing stock be­tween the blocks was al­ways such an is­sue with some­one on ei­ther side of the cross­ing as well as some­one mov­ing the stock. The un­der­pass has just taken that worry away. It has also proved a great thing with the kids go­ing to and from their grand­par­ents’ house on the other block as well.’’

That sum­mer was a busy one for the farm. The dirt from the un­der­pass was used as a base for two new si­los, which was built the week after that Christ­mas.

‘‘Within a day of fin­ish­ing each silo they were in use. It was an early har­vest that sea­son,’’ Nathan says.

Most years the farm’s in­come is shared evenly be­tween crops and live­stock. They are flex­i­ble about what they grow and base their de­ci­sions on the mar­ket, con­tracts avail­able and the weather. Core crops in re­cent years have been rye­grass and red clover for seed and bar­ley.

They’re go­ing into a sec­ond year with­out peas in their crop ro­ta­tion.

The pest in­sect pea wee­vil was found on sev­eral Wairarapa com­mer­cial pea-grow­ing and stor­age prop­er­ties last win­ter. The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries banned com­mer­cial and do­mes­tic pea grow­ing in the Wairarapa dis­trict south of Pahiatua for two years.

‘‘We have 200ha of crop of which 15 to 16 per cent is nor­mally peas. We’ll see what the pea traps bring in this year. They caught a lot last year but hope­fully that won’t be the case this time.’’


Nathan and Kate Wil­liams have been farm­ing Otahuao near Master­ton in their own right since 2009.

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