Business Rural Summer 2021

28 | MEAT & WOOL » Rob Holt & Stephanie Macfarlane Pastoral partnership eyes farm ownership Rob Holt and Stephanie Macfarlane moved into sheep and beef farming after a decade working as sharemilkers. Farming as Holmac Pastoral they have built up a large operation, their lease land totalling 1100ha and spread over an area from Pleasant Point to Fairlie. Kim Newth A fter more than a decade working as share- milkers in the dairy industry, Rob Holt and Stephanie Macfarlane began leasing land in South Canterbury and moved into sheep and beef. Farming as Holmac Pastoral Partnership, they have built a big operation over the past four or five years and are now working hard towards their ultimate goal of farm ownership. Rob and Stephanie met as students at the Southern Institute of Technology’s Telford campus in Balclutha and since graduating 15 years ago have put their skills to good use. Stephanie grew up on a Northland dairy farm, and the dairy sector is also where the couple forged their agricultural career working as contract milkers while becoming equity partners in a 450-cow dairy farm in Winton. “Then, five years ago, an opportunity to move to South Canterbury came up, working as contract milkers in Pleasant Point and with that also came other opportunities to lease parcels of land,” says Rob, who adds that after 10 or 12 years in dairy farming they were ready for a change and to test their skills in the dry stock industry. The couple love the rural lifestyle they have carved out for themselves and their children – Lachie, 8, Maddox, 7 and Nevaya, 5. “The hill country property we’re on now in Albury, near Fairlie, is a fantastic place for our kids. We’d love to purchase a property like this one day. It is great from that recreational perspective, for hunt- ing, fishing and outdoor adventure.” Their lease land, totalling 1100ha, is spread over a wide area from Pleasant Point to Fairlie. They started off with a 125ha block in Pleasant Point and used that to start trading in lambs before securing another smaller block nearby. “From there, a 580 hectare dryland property in Albury came up and then eight months ago another 370 hectares in Cricklewood in Fairlie.” As much as possible, they try and farm each block separately and run them as profitably as possible but with some interdependencies around feed. Their original plan was to manage the opera- tion as a three-way split with a third for grazing to pay the lease bills and the rest evenly split between capital and trading. “In reality, it is more like 50 per cent capital and a quarter grazing, a quarter trading.” Rob and Stephanie, who run the operation be- tween the two of them, have 4300 ewes (including a small percentage of contract ewes), 700 hoggets, 115 angus beef cows (with wagyu genetics being trialled for increased meat yield) and 100 friesian bulls. They trade 100 two year old steers, 100 weaner steers and some 9000 trade lambs, summer and winter. The sheep are a split of low risk, high performance Wairere Romney and Coopdales, with Snowline genetics being trialled to produce finer wool. Holmac Pastoral Partnership also grazes more than 700 dairy stock, including 550 dairy wagyu. Rob says they are looking to simplify and streamline their complex pastoral partnership in coming months and are currently in the process of finishing their lease at Pleasant Point. “It’s about being sustainable and professional and, going forward, building towards ownership. We may go back into dairy or into deer - a lot will depend on what opportunities arise.” “The hill country property we’re on now in Albury, near Fairlie, is a fantastic place for our kids. We’d love to purchase a property like this one day.” IRRIGATE WITH CONFIDENCE · IRRIGATION SYSTEMS · REMOTE MANAGEMENT · PRECISION VRI CAVE SPRAYING CONTRACTING LTD BRIAN 03 614 3823 • 027 274 4052 | DANIEL 03 614 3715 • 021 1477 547 Pasture and Crop Spraying • Gorse Spraying Slug Bait Appl ication Phone Andrew: 027 322 1014 or 03 685 5788 QUALITY SERVICE DONE ON TIME ANDREWSWANN CONTRACTING LTD • ROUND & SQUARE BALING • TUBE & INDIVIDUAL WRAPPING • MOWING, RAKING & CARTING • STRIP TILLING & CONVENTIONAL PRECISION PLANTING • EFFLUENT • PLOUGHING TO FULL CULTIVATION 027 614 8089 Shearing contractors based in Pleasant Point, South Canterbury. Clean, reliable shearing by an expert team. , . , . Profile your farm with Business Rural DO OUR READERS KNOW YOU EXIST ?