Business Rural Spring 2021

| 11 Keeping it simple key for couple The Mt Somers Rugby club busy dagging lambs in the wool shed. The Salvesens have changed their cattle breeding policy from running an Angus-Hereford herd to solely Angus and have reduced their deer numbers from 1000 to more like 600, introducing a small velvet herd. Virginia Wright RURAL PEOPLE » Mike & Nicky Salvesen M ike and Nicky Salvesen have been farming 1380 effective hectares just south of Mount Somers in Mid Canterbury for the last 14 years. They’ve enjoyed developing the property and in the early years followed a flourishing market to expand the deer part of their beef, sheep and deer operation. In the years since their farming system has changed and evolved as market conditions have come and gone and they’re now gearing towards reducing their dependency on fluctuating market conditions. “Venison was good and rising at the time,” says Mike. “It’s not so good now. We also got into sheep near the start which we then sold because we had too much going on for the two of us to cope with so we simplified things.” They now have an extra member of staff and 18 months ago they brought sheep back on as a means to combat the decline in venison prices. They’re running 1200 Border-Leicester x Merino with the intention of making money from both meat and wool. “We’re heading towards a type of South African meat merino called Dohne, primarily for wool qual- ity and quantity,” says Mike. “ The lambs are pretty good and our micron’s down around 24 so we’re making money from the wool instead of it being a cost.” They’ve changed their cattle breeding policy from running an Angus-Hereford herd for the works for Five Star to having only Angus. “We’ve now gone fully recorded with an Angus stud under Wakare,” says Mike. “It’s partly due to my younger son Hamish coming home next year once he’s completed his PhD in genetics in Edinburgh. Our neighbours have a Hereford stud so it made sense not to compete with them.” The additional work load is offset by selling many of their bulls at the cheaper end of the spectrum into the dairy market with the income that brings in. “It’s steady business and of course most of those go as yearlings which frees us up to do something else. They buy 10 or 20 at a time and we take pride in offering easy calving, with good growth genetics. They don’t keep them either, so they come back for more next year.” They’ve also refined their approach to the venison side of the operation, reducing their deer numbers from 1000 to more like 600 and introduc- ing a small velvet herd. Again it shows their ability to respond to the market with the accompanying strategy of building capacity that sits outside what the market dictates. Everything fits into their overall goal of simplicity of management and spreading the busy times, while the measuring and recording sup- ports their core focus of improving all the time. The Salvesens’ focus on improving the farm isn’t limited to the livestock either as they work with environmental management and sustainability front of mind. They were fencing waterways and plant- ing trees well ahead of any legislative requirements and are half way through a ten year plan of planting trees at the rate of around 1500 a year. “We’re working out what survives but basically we’re planting natives,” says Mike. “The unexciting ones seem to survive the best such as the cabbage trees, hebes and coprosmas but beech trees do well in some places, and kowhais grow well too which is good for the birds.” Their approach was recognized with their suc- cessful entry into the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in 2020 when they won the award for Water Quality. The Salvesens found the process hugely rewarding and enjoyed touring the judges around the farm and being able to pick their brains about how best to care for the land, which for them is as important as the income it provides. “We’ve always tried to be pro-active but I sup- pose at the end of the day it’s about looking after what you’ve got, taking pride in what you’ve got, and leaving it in a better state than what you started with,” says Mike. “We’re heading towards a type of South African meat merino called Dohne, primarily for wool quality and quantity.” Precision Spreading Call 03 302 8650 55 Line Road, Methven, 7730, Mid Canterbury. Contact us now: Phone (03) 696 3506 Bridge Street, Arundel, RD22, Geraldine Cultivation and Drilling Specialists • Ground Cultivation • Maize/Fodder Beet Planting • Fodder Beet Harvesting • Direct/Roller Drilling • Pivot Rut Filling • Excavator Work • Muck Spreading • Calf Pen Woodchip - STOCK - BULK - GENERAL FREIGHT - BLOWER TRUCK - FERTILISER SPREADING - SHINGLE SUPPLIES - PUBLIC WEIGHBRIDGE - RAVENSDOWN STORE MAYFIELD Ph: (03) 303 6102 - 0800 687 267 (0800 mtrans) | Email: Post: 74 MAYFIELD KLONDYKE ROAD, MAYFIELD, ASHBURTON 7778 | WWW.MAYFIELDTRANSPORT.NZ Proud to support Michael & Nicky Salvesen