More than 150 people attended the field day of Pouarua Farms, one of the finalists in this year’s prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori Dairy farm.
Pouarua Farms are a large Māori owned dairy operation located near the township of Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains, close to Thames. The 2,200ha platform comprises 10 farms – nine dairy units and one drystock unit and is the largest single dairy platform in the Hauraki region. A total of 4,600 cows are milked across 1,775ha and produce approximately 1.65M kgMS.
People came from many parts of the central North Island including the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. They included representatives from central and local government, rural professionals, sponsors, and a wide cross section of leaders from te ao Māori and the agibusiness sector. Also present were representatives of the other two finalists, Tataiwhetu Trust located in the Rūātoki Valley south of Whakatane and Tunapahore B2A Incorporation at Hawai on State Highway 35 on the East Coast of the North Island.
The visitors were welcomed onto the farm by the kaumātua of Pouarua Farms Walter Ngamane and other local dignitaries. After the formalities, those attending the day watched a series of presentations by directors and staff from the farm setting out its history, vision, current operations, and their plans for the future. Later they had the opportunity to tour the property where further details about the farm were presented.
The Chairman of the Ahuwhenua Trophy Management Committee, Kingi Smiler, praised the organisers for a well-run field day. He says the overall organisation was excellent, as was the presentation of the material about the farm.
Kingi says entering the competition in such challenging and uncertain times takes a lot of courage and determination, and Pouarua Farms, like the other two finalists have shown just that. He says in these difficult times highlighting the positive aspect of Māori agribusiness is more important than ever because it helps ignite a sense of pride among Māori people and the wider community.
“Field days such as this one at Pouarua Farms are an outstanding example of the achievements of Māori and highlights the growing contribution of Māori to the wider Aotearoa economy. We need to do more showcasing of our achievements as many people still do not understand the value of the Māori economy,” he says.
Field days for the other two farms will be held Thursday 1st April at Tataiwhetu Trust and Thursday 8th April at Tunapahore B2A Incorporation. The winner of the competition will be announced at the Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards Dinner being held in New Plymouth on Friday 14th May.
See more about PGG Wrightsons' relationship with the Ahuwhenua Trophy here
Pouarua Farms Profile
Ngā Puke ki Hauraki ka tarehu
E mihi ana ki te whenua
E tangi ana ki te tangata
Ko Te Aroha kei roto
Ko Moehau kei waho
Ko Tīkapa te moana
Ko Hauraki te whenua
Pouarua Farms are located on the Hauraki Plains, 35km south east of the Bombay Hills. The 2,200ha platform comprises ten farms: nine dairy units and one drystock unit. This is the largest single dairy platform in the Hauraki region. 4,600 cows are milked across 1,775ha and produce approximately 1.65M kgMS. Pouarua Farms are jointly owned by Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Tara Tokanui and Te Patukirikiri.
The farms lie within the Māori land blocks known as Ngarua, Waitakaruru and Puhangateuru.The Waitangi Tribunal confirmed that the iwi of Hauraki suffered raupatu by the Crown and were marginalised in their own rohe being among the most landless of iwi in the nation Pouarua Farms were returned to the five iwi in 2013 in the largest on-account Treaty settlement ever made by the Crown. The farms were initially in a 50/50 sharemilking agreement with Landcorp from 2013 – 2019. Pouarua Farms are now fully operated by the iwi owners under a limited partnership arrangement.
The board is independently chaired by the Honourable John Luxton along with iwi representative directors Paul Majurey, John McEnteer, and Rick Braddock, who have all served from the outset of the return of Pouarua Farms to the iwi.
Since taking on full operational care in May 2019, significant productive and financial gains have been achieved by careful execution of management led by Chief Executive Jenna Smith. The dairy farms are run as system 2 and as all the farms sit on quite raw peat of varying maturity, production and input are therefore equally as variable. Farm A was established in 2017 after a reconfiguration of four of the farms with the intention to increase on-farm efficiencies. Milking 600 cows on 217 effective hectares through a well-equipped modern 54 bail rotary shed, the farm is the vision of its owners, with practical technologies and careful consideration for the environment.
Farm A recorded an 18% increase in per cow milk production to 390 kgMS in the 19/20 season and a 20% increase in per hectare production to 1,034 kgMS despite a significant drought. This was achieved with careful utilisation of on-farm grown feeds and adjusting the stocking rate down, as well as utilising 3-in-2 milking to conserve energy during the hotter months. Nitrogen use is capped to 150 units/ha across all farms and Farm Environment Plans were adopted as soon as full operational care as Undertaken. A forever planting plan sees approximately 7,500 plants (Harakeke and other native species) planted annually across the entire platform. With riparian planting of the drains the main priority. Specific species are planted in cultural gardens to utilise in weaving, medicines, food (honey), bird habitat, water quality, soil conservation and landscape improvement. Staff are supported with multiple on and off farm training opportunities, and the community is engaged through the local schools as well as a spend local policy which brings prosperity to the communities our people live in.
Contact: Jenna Smith, 027 599 0802 / email@example.com
Rangatira Angus, among the East Coast’s most respected studs, is bringing a six decade era to a close. Its mixed age cow, heifer calf and bull calf dispersal sale on 22 March offered 244 lots for a full clearance through a six hour sale.
Emma Pollitt, PGG Wrightson East Coast Livestock Genetics Representative, helped organise the sale with stud principals Charlie and Susie Dowding, while bidr®, New Zealand’s virtual saleyard, added nationwide competition, helping make the day a resounding success.
“We had 26 online registered buyers, from Mangakino to Clinton, alongside over 50 who bid in person at the sale. Almost half the offering received online bids, and bidr® participants purchased 14 per cent of the lots, including the top price of the day for a bull calf.
“This sale was originally planned for this time last year, before Covid-19 disrupted the selling season. When the Rangatira Angus yearling and two year old heifer sale was held in September last year bidr® attended to cover all bases, and we stuck with that for this sale.
“Some online purchasers who had been at the September sale in person bid from home this time, showing confidence in the system and the stud. Having bidr® there, with a full online system, made bidding from home much easier, ensuring anyone online can stay in control,” she says.
With 111 cows offered, the average price was $4,775 and the top-priced cow sold for $12,000 to Rolling Rock Angus. In the heifer section 68 lots averaged $4,283 with the top-priced heifer calf purchased by Shamrock Angus for $10,500. Of 65 bull calves offered, selling on average for $3,933, as noted, the top priced bull calf was purchased online: with Black Ridge Angus buying him for $20,500 and Mt Mable Angus purchasing another bull calf at the sale for $17,500.
Emma Pollitt says it was always going to be a bittersweet day for the Dowding family.
“Charlie and Susie were as happy as could be in the circumstances. They were thrilled with the outcome of the sale, appreciated the value bidr® provides and will use bidr® again at their upcoming bull sale in June,” she says.
Growing demand from overseas mills has pushed up crossbred prices at wool auctions throughout February and mid-March to prices at least at pre-Covid levels. There has been a slight tempering of these increases throughout late March as overseas markets adjust to these increased values.
Crossbred wool makes up 85 per cent of New Zealand’s clip. In recent years the price of crossbred wool has fallen well short of a sustainable level, and values hit rock bottom last year during the Covid lockdown. A price reduction of between 30 and 40 per cent occurred when the pandemic precipitated serious disruption through the wool supply chain, this on values already at historically low levels. At sales this year however, values have lifted notably and across the board.
Chinese New Year celebrated this year in early February is a period we are always aware of. China is the most significant market for New Zealand wool, taking around 55 per cent of our clip. Typically during Chinese New Year wool mills shut down and manufacturers take a holiday from the market. That was not the case this year as we continued to write new business with our Chinese customers.
India has also provided vigorous market competition during recent auctions, alongside the European mills.
Although the situation is short of what we would all like, the percentage of lots passed in at this year’s auctions has been low: growers are prepared to meet the market, with a stoic level of realism around the values on offer.
Although the recent market improvement is encouraging, we still have a long way to go before growers can generate any significant enthusiasm. Global demand for wool over time is projected to continue to rise steadily as more and more consumers wake up to its characteristics as a sustainable, biodegradable, natural fibre. Returns should at least hold steady, if not continue to build. By continuing to work closely with our overseas customers, as the world wakes up to the attributes of wool that competing fibres can never match, we will support and grow our market wherever we can.
In the present circumstances growers need to remember that the best prepared, higher quality wools will continue to command a premium: vigilance in the wool shed is the key to maximising returns.
PGG Wrightson Wool