Business Rural Winter 2022

20 | MEAT & WOOL» Castleridge Station Kelly Deeks Top eece, top lambs The stars were aligned at the Castleridge lamb sale this year with good demand, good prices and good lambs. - Bulk Grain, Silo & Cool Storage- Firewood & Shingle Supplies - Agricultural Spraying- Lime & Super Spreading - Precision Nitrogen Sowing - Swing-Lifting - Log, Hay & Straw, Grain, Stock & Container Cartage - l i , il l - i i l li - i l l i - i i - i i i i - i - i i - , , i , i PROUD TO SUPPORT CASTLERIDGE STATION PO Box 28, Line Road, Methven , i , • Ph: 03 302 8616 : E: : ili i l . . •• . ili i . . Brophy Knight are proud to provide accounting and advisory services to Castleridge Station For accounting and financial advice, contact: Greg Wall, Brendon Adam, Marcus Schoonderbeek, Angus Lindsay or Emma Hastings This was followed by a reasonable summer, then a dry autumn since the lambs were sold. Instead of the normally hot, dry summer on the 5800ha, summer-dry, non-irrigated, high country property, where everything shuts down over December and January, the right amount of rain and sun made for some better than normal growth and some production gain catch-up from the spring. From mid-February, there has been hardly any rain, and growth on the winter feed crops has slowed down. “That changes the ratio of what we feed and how,” Kerry says. “We made more silage this season than we normally would in the summer, so we will go through this winter with less crop and more silage.” From its position high up the Ashburton Gorge, above the Maori Lakes on the way to Lake Heron, Castleridge Station is in a really natural environment hence Kerry is well in the thick of the absolute barrage of regulation and changes that are currently hitting farmers. She is working in a strong partnership with ECAN’s on-farm staff to monitor and measure and look at how she can change her whole farming system or parts of it to improve freshwater and lake quality. “How do we change a system that at the moment runs very well from a performance and from a management point of view? We have to see if we can be better land managers and still be as pro table. “It has taken 30 years to develop the system we have, and it will continue to change into the future. That’s the beauty of it, we will never be standing still.” A system that is 30 years in the making at Castleridge Station near Ashburton, producing stunning ne wool Merino eeces and equally stunning lambs, is set to continue to change into the future as owners Paul and Kerry Harmer look to make even more improvements whether around stock management, genetics, regulatory requirements, or environmental impact. Kerry says the current set up is the best of both worlds. “The Merino ewe produces a stunning ne wool eece, then our mixed age ewes all go to a Poll Dorset terminal sire and produce stunning lambs. We take these through to forward store lambs which means they are basically prime, so we get to be prime wool and prime lamb growers as well.” Castleridge Station hit a bit of a jackpot at the lamb sale this year. It does consistently produce good lambs, but this year, as well as good lambs there was also good demand, and good prices. “You don’t often get all three of those in the same year.” Demand came from where it usually comes, with a consistent group of buyers who buy Castle Ridge lambs year in and year out. “We’ve built up a reputation for a particular type of lamb so we get consistent return buyers. The nished lamb price was good and the schedule price was good, and our lamb sale was held just before Southland was hit hard with a massive drought. “That changed the market a bit as a lot of stock were off loaded, and a lot of that comes up into Canterbury.” That lamb sale jackpot came off the back of a tough weather season, with a slow, cold, and damp spring.