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Young Country

Dairy dreams

The dream of farm ownership is a steep mountain to climb but Rebecca Harper met two motivated young couples with their sights set on the ultimate prize, working their way up through managing dairy farms and equity partnerships for MyFarm.  

  • Farm name: Westerfield Pastoral
  • On-farm managers: Ben and Kelly Frederickson
  • Total area: 130ha (113ha effective)
  • Cows milked: 460 plus replacements
  • Target production: 216,000kg MS
  • Established as a MyFarm syndicate by six investors in 2009

  

Missing out on their OE and forgoing Christmas and birthday presents shows just how dedicated Kelly and Ben Frederickson are to their goal of farm ownership.

They are equity partners in MyFarm’s Westerfield Pastoral dairy farm in mid Canterbury, near Ashburton.

Neither is from a farming background and it was Kelly, 27, who discovered a love of dairy farming after visiting New Zealand.

At the age of 15 she left her family in Perth and moved to Taranaki to follow her dairy dream.

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Lochinver legacy

Big stations attract people who like big country and sometimes those who like to work alone – huge open spaces, few people. But big stations with lots of stock and complex systems need to attract workers who like to work hard and be part of a team. The two personality types could be very different. Jackie Harrigan looks at what makes the team at Lochinver tick.

Lochinver station: 13,837 ha

Effective pasture: 7881ha

Leased: 1554ha

Undeveloped: 2382ha

Forestry: 290ha

Conservation: 1100ha

Infrastructure: 630ha

Drury farm: 420ha

Huntly farm: 300ha

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Going polo

Playing polo is no easy ride according to Canterbury vet Nathan Broerse. He tells Amanda Cropp players need the physical prowess of rugby players and the mental stamina of chess champs combined with the skills of hockey and horsemanship.

Polo might have an image as a game for toffs but that’s not the way rural vet and talented Canterbury player Nathan Broerse sees it.

“Polo is not about sitting there in a La-Z-Boy with a stick in your hand. I tell people it’s a combination of hockey, rugby and chess all at the same time while riding a horse. It’s very physical. You’ve got to have good eye-hand coordination and it’s very tactical as well. A really fast team can lose to a team with good tactics.”

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Hand up, not handout

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.”

These are wise words and the ethos behind the Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) organisation that has been putting New Zealanders with an altruistic streak into overseas placements to help people for over 50 years.

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Three of a Kind

“Woodchopping is like a religion to me. I love it. I love the people, working with wood and axes and all technical aspects of the sport. It’s enabled me to travel the world. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled as far afield as Norway for chopping competitions; which in turn has allowed me to meet and make friends for life,” Shane Jordan tells Ross Nolly.

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Jus the job

Cook and 2012 Masterchef winner Chelsea Winter believes people should not be afraid of using a little bit of butter and wants Kiwis to become more passionate about cooking with natural New Zealand produce rather than being led into buying low fat or readymade food.

Chelsea admits to keeping her fridge stocked with produce which might come under some people’s umbrella of unhealthy food. “Not everything in my fridge is what people would think is healthy. I like my cheese and my butter. I love lamb fat and pork fat. I eat the chicken skin off other people’s plates. I love bacon. I love bread.

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Dallying with sheep

"Sheep?" they'd say.

"Yes sheep," I'd reply.

“And...not even pretty sheep either, not like the ones we have here in New Zealand."

Obviously they weren't familiar with the type of sheep I was after, nor their habitat.

A sheep hunt in 2004 had shown me it was not always a walk in the park. On that particular occasion we'd glassed over a hundred sheep but no full curl rams. I returned home empty-handed, though the trip was probably one of the most satisfying I'd ever done. The hunter does not always have to shoot something.

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Wonderful journey just the beginning

The 2013 ANZ Bank Young Farmer Grand Final followed the form book, with winner Tim van de Molen, from Waikato-Bay of Plenty, and second-placed Cam Brown, from Taranaki-Manawatu, being previous grand finalists in a contest where experience and endurance mean a great deal. Hugh Stringleman puts van de Molen’s win in context.

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Shooting for the top

More and more outdoor-loving Kiwis are slinging a bow and arrow over their shoulder and discovering for themselves the joys of bow hunting. This sport requires patience, skill and dedication, and promises satisfaction, a challenge and a great adventure.

Ricky Russ is a fine example.

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Eve catches on

Young Huntaway Eve’s training has continued from the last issue where we had her working in the yards, pulling the few quiet sheep towards me.

Initially I worked in one yard until she grasped the concept, then I worked in several yards. Sometimes gates were open, sometimes closed. If the gate was closed I insisted that she stood off the sheep while I opened it, before bringing them through.

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