| 23 • from page 22 Five Star Luxury “We want our guests to feel at home with us and enjoy the comforts of a very special private retreat.” MEAT & WOOL » Cairnlea Poll Dorset Stud Russell Fredric Stud a hub for area’s trades academy Buying a farm to run a long-established Poll Dorset stud from turned out to be a class act for Maniototo couple Sam and Deb Stevens. Not only are they teachers by profession, after purchasing their farm in 2003 it became the hub for running the Maniototo area trades academy school for Primary ITO. Before buying the farm they were living and working in England at a school that had a training farm on which Sam worked 20 hours a week. Born and raised on farms, Sam and Deb returned to New Zealand late 2001 with the intention of buying a small hobby farm on the outskirts of Invercargill. At the time Deb’s father, George Patterson, was looking to sell Cairnlea Poll Dorset Stud which was run from his Middlemarch farm. After two years of looking, Deb and Sam bought their 240 hectare property at Poolburn as well as the stud. Although it is bigger that a hobby farm, it is small enough that Sam can teach full-time at Maniototo Area School, especially as the trades academy provides a labour pool for two days a week with Sam as the tutor, while Deb teaches full-time at Poolburn School. The trades academy offers NCEA level two and level three quali cations. The level two programme offers credits for both NCEA and the national certi cate in agriculture, in quad-bikes, tractor driving, stock handling and health and safety. It is one of the few such schools in New Zealand accredited to level three assessment in agricultural vehicles and machinery. “What we’ve found is that they’re the sort of skills that our local farmers and contractors want so it makes the students quite employable after two or three years in the programme.” While the course is farm-focused, for some students their quali cation has opened doors in other industries. The Steven’s farm supports 235 Poll Dorset stud breeding ewes, 100 ewe hoggets and 100 ram hoggets. Poll Dorset’s were not his rst choice, but time and experience has disproven Sam’s initial amThe Steven’s farm supports 235 Poll Dorset stud breeding ewes, 100 ewe hoggets and 100 ram hoggets. RYAN CONTRACTING Bede Ryan - Phone: (03) 444 9844 Mobile: 021 355 292 MULCHING - AGRICULTURAL WORK - SILAGE What doesn’t change is the attention to every detail and the real sense of timeless luxury at Cabot Lodge. “Guests have a private jetty on the Waiau River where they can go fishing, or be collected by float plane to soar over the fiords. We have several hiking trails across the farm, and a spa pool nestled amongst the beech trees overlooking Manapouri and surrounding mountains. Guests can enjoy private on-farm activities. We can don them in bee-suits and they can taste honey straight from the hives” Once guests are welcomed to the Lodge their stay is all inclusive from their drink on arrival to an evening drink and canapes, the farm-to-plate evening meal, and cooked breakfast. There’s fresh fruit and homemade baking topped up in their room each day, and in the evening their rooms are turned down. “We get to know our guests prior to arrival to personalise their evening meal and the mini bar in their suite.” As always it is the little things that make the difference, and a stay that is both very special and memorable. A handwritten card for each guest touches on their personal experience and guests leave the Lodge with a pottle of the farm’s very own honey as a memento of their stay. “Brad and I are very hands on and love connecting with our guests. People feel as though they are at home with family.” bivalence about the breed.“For where we live they are a magni cent animal. They love the dry and the lambs do exceptionally well in a dry year. I’ve found them to be quite hardy and easy to manage. They have an amazing capacity for growth and for packing on muscle, so we are really starting to see some bene ts from our genetic programme now with our good client base who keep coming back. They’re getting good results with what we’re doing; that’s what it’s all about.” In addition to genetics being sourced long-term from Windermere stud, Canterbury, two years ago Cairnlea imported semen from Gooramma Poll Dorset Stud in New South Wales to both diversify the gene pool and to bolster speci c traits. This is paying off with eye muscle area scanning of progeny showing good gains; last year assessment of intramuscular fat was introduced. The ock’s lambing percentage at weaning is typically a respectable 150% to 160%. Cairnlea holds a ram sale on the second Friday of December each year.