Business Rural North Autumn 2022

42 | RURAL PEOPLE » Tangihau Station Finding new and interesting methods Tangihau Station’s commercial ock of 20,000 Romney ewes are carefully bred and reared. Kelly Deeks After 32 years of managing Tangihau Station, Dean McHardy is still nding new and interesting ways to make gains in the farm’s Angus stud, its commercial herd, and its commercial ock. Tangihau Station has been breeding Angus bulls since 1949, as a result of the dif culty in sourcing bulls to suit the speci c terrain and climate of the farm. “We are on medium to steep hill country, from 110m up to 660m, and we can’t feed out on tractors,” Dean says. “We need cattle that can store fat, hard times we can take it off. When we have surplus feed, the Angus can store that feed. We’ve probably got a month’s worth of grazing stored on the cattle and it’s cheaper than keeping it in a silage pit.” Any genetic changes needed in the commercial herd are rst made in the stud. “With the EBV data available today, if we need heavier weaners we source sire bulls for the stud that are higher in milk, and it changes the whole commercial herd.” Dean says Tangihau Station has always bred bulls principally for use on the station. As well as the need for accumulation of positive fats without compromising structure fertility and growth, the bulls are bred on the hills and need to cover the large commercial breeding herd. Cows produced need to have the ability to rear a calf and get back in calf under challenging climatic conditions. Tangihau Station’s commercial ock of 20,000 Romney ewes are bred and reared in exactly the same environment. This season, in a rst for Tangihau Station, a Kelso ram is being put over the Romneys. “We’re doing that to get a bit more genetic gain, and the hybrid vigour comes for free. The Kelso cross will give us a bit more weight in the lambs at weaning.” Over the last ve years, lambing percentage and weaning weight gains have started to slow down at Tangihau Station, so the new genetics from the Kelso in particular should remedy this. Dean went to James and Sam Hurley’s properties in Hunterville where they have been crossing the Kelso rams over there romney ewes for a number of years. “Their sheep were outstanding, so it gave me a lot of con dence moving forward with this cross, their country being similar to Tangihau, and even colder. At the end of the day if you do nothing, nothing changes.” Dean says genetics is a wonderful tool, and explains it like this. “I was speaking to a bull buyer a couple of years ago at the on-farm bull sale, who had mentioned these bulls are well conditioned. He thought it was 20% breeding and 80% feeding, but I told him it is the other way around, and it was all about their genetics. Think about 30 12-year-old boys all starting boarding school, they all start about the same size. Line them up ve years later, they’ve all lived together eating the same food and playing the same sports, but you’ll have short ones, tall ones, skinny ones, and wide ones. The only difference is their genetics.” While Dean is excited about bringing the Kelso in to the romney ock, the Angus are still making huge gains and thriving in the Tangihau environment, so no changes there. He is missing being able to head overseas on the hunt for new genetics, and will get back out there as soon as possible. For now, he is sourcing different bloodlines from around New Zealand, from bulls that are sound and suitable for the unique environment at Tangihau Station. GISBORNE | 743 Gladstone Rd | 06 867 9405 | WAIROA | 46 Freyberg St | 06 838 6099 | Proud to be supporting Tangihau Station Proudly supporting the Tangihau Team 12 Locke St, Wairoa 4108 | mail@tarrantco� | 06 838 8388 Super Air have a modern eet of SpreadSmart equipped aircraft, delivering market leading fertiliser and lime application bene ts. Contact: Cameron Bishop - Phone: 027 277 4943 Phone 0800 668 342 / 24 Hours FOR ALL YOUR RURAL TRANSPORT REQUIREMENTS We provide Livestock, General/Bulk, Logging and Ground Spreading services