Business Rural Winter 2022

| 31 MEAT & WOOL » Mt Cass Station Karen Phelps Low wool prices drives demand for Wiltshires Mt Cass Station staged an opening day to showcase its Wiltshire sheep. Located in Waipara, North Canterbury Mt Cass Station is a 3300ha organic unit running 8,300 Wiltshire ewes and calving 200 beef cows. Mt Cass Station’s Wiltshire stud is in a growth phase swelling from 250 to 1000 SIL recorded ewes in the past year on the back of demand for genetics due to low wool prices as Wiltshires shed their wool naturally every year, says farm general manager Dave Wooldridge. The new additions to the stud have been drafted from the farm’s commercial Wiltshire operation of 8300 ewes. The farm is also enhancing its stud data and monitoring in order to provide clients with even better information, says Dave. This year the farm sold 80 rams plus annual draft ewes, two tooths and ewe lambs at its annual on farm ram and ewe sale in January. Dave says that Mt Cass Wiltshires have inherent internal parasite tolerance, don’t need to be shorn, crutched or dipped for y strike. This results in signi cant savings on shearing, labour and agrichemical costs. They are also good meat producers and Mt Cass Station weans 135-145% off the hill country. About 40% of the Mt Cass lamb crop is sold prime pre Christmas at a 16.5kg to 17.5kg carcass weight. Dave says Mt Cass Station continues to invest in the best genetics and this year arti cially inseminated 400 ewes with Exlana semen imported from the UK targeting its traits of high fecundity and good shedding and meat. Exlana is a composite maternal breed developed with pro t in mind. The sheep are low input, low labour and wool shedding. The ef cient forage conversion, low labour and reduced chemical input traits of Exlana make the genetics an ideal addition to Mt Cass Wiltshires organic operation, believes Dave. Located in Waipara, North Canterbury Mt Cass Station is a 3,300ha organic unit running 8,300 Wiltshire ewes and calving 200 beef cows. A proportion of the stock is nished for the farm’s own organic Biogro certi ed meat brand Wash Creek Meats. The farm uses more eco-friendly techniques of rotational grazing with fruit salad pastures of chicory, clovers, lucerne and plantains to produce its organic lean meats with good marbling for domestic and international markets. Dave says the stock is complementary. For example the cows mainly graze on the hill pastures where they help create quality pasture and provide clean grazing for the sheep ock. Because the cows and sheep eat a different length of leaf and are susceptible to different species of worms they are also complementary. The animals also work in with the farm’s 250ha organic cropping operation growing fennel, radish, white clover, lucerne, wheat, peas and linseed. For example the lambs are used in-between white clover rows, and in establishing lucerne crops to clean up the weeds, says Dave. Dave has been at the station for around a year after previously managing a beef ranch in Canada that was partially organic and low input. Mt Cass Station employs just 12 staff over the whole operation including Wash Creek Meats. Dry summers are the biggest challenge for Mt Cass Station. Around 200ha of the farm is under irrigation and an extra dam and centre pivot is currently being installed to bring water to another 40ha. Dave says this will give Mt Cass Station increased reliability of crop and feed yield. Different drought resistant seed varieties are also being trialled. The station is also investing in modernising its equipment eet to reduce downtime and further increase ef ciencies and productivity. Proudly in support of Mt Cass Station. Scott MOB 0275 350 302 FARM FENCING • HIGH COUNTRY LIFESTYLE • POST DRIVING • DOZER DIGGER WORK • TRACKING We enjoy working with Mt Cass Station PH: 03 312 9844 MOB: 027 205 5724 163 Stokes Road, Balcairn • OVER 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE FARMBIKE SPECIALISTSFOR ALL YOUR SALES, SERVICING, REPAIRS & DISMANTLING • All makes & models • Qualified motorcycle engineers (NCME, Tradecert) • Quality 2nd hand farmbikes • Offroad bikes • Side-by-sides • Tyres • Parts & accessories • Wrecking of all makes • Electrical & mechanical fault testing • Insurance repairs Proudly supporting MT Cass Station