Country Life

Friday 27 May 2016, with Carol Stiles, Susan Murray, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes & Duncan Smith

Anthea Yule... Farming is a Privilege

Hawkes Bay Farmer Anthea Yule

Hawkes Bay Farmer Anthea Yule Photo: RNZ / Susan Murray

It's nothing for  Anthea Yule to get up at 5am and spend the day drenching and weighing 2000 lambs to see which ones are ready for the meatworks.

In fact every week she's weighing lambs because every week some are sent to Napier processor Fresh Meats.

The 51-year-old farmer says this isn't how she thought her life would turn out.

If you'd asked her 15 years ago what she thought she'd be doing now, she'd have said "a little bit of teaching, a little bit of sport, maybe golf lessons still, but all that stopped ... volunteer work. Life changed."

The change, which has seen her have to dig very deep at times to cope, was the break up of her marriage to Lawrence Yule, current mayor of Hastings.

Now she runs the property, near the Ngaruroro River in Hawkes Bay, on her own account. There was a business to keep going, she says, and it never entered her head that she wouldn't do that.

But as all farmers know, it can be very tough. "You can work all year for no money sometimes."

Getting a water right a couple of years ago has completely changed the way the farm runs, and has added some certainty of income.

"I guess the best thing I've done in my time here is get a water right - and there's no more - so we're now irrigating 80 hectares," she said.

Looking towards the Ngaruroro River over the farm 'Paranui'

Looking towards the Ngaruroro River over the farm 'Paranui' Photo: RNZ/Susan Murray

The water lets her grow more specialist grasses and crops so she can produce lambs week in week out that are good killing weights.  

Land that used to be "the dunny of the farm", down near the Ngaruroro River, now supports thousands of lambs, and the cattle that used to graze here are pushed into tougher country.

Anthea says she can only keep farming because of the huge support she gets from neighbours - and her four children who come home in the holidays to help out. All have different interests and skills on the farm and they are determined to keep it going.

"They want inter-generational succession of some sort. They all cut their teeth here and worked very hard."

That work has included planting a lot of trees for their beauty and for stock food. According to Anthea, "you must plant as if you're going to be there forever".

"The fencers thought I was crazy," she says," but I went back and looked at how things would look from a distance ... I've tried to plant as though it's naturally been done like that."

Despite all these achievements, Anthea says, of all the things she's done in her life "the thing I'm most proud of is being a mother. I love being called Mum."

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Replanting the Hoteo

AFTER  John and Geraldine look at their first planting job along the river now three years old

AFTER John and Geraldine look at their first planting job along the river now three years old Photo: RNZ/David Steemson

A North Auckland couple, who’ve farmed their land for fifty years, have raised cash through crowd funding to bring back native bush along the banks of their farm river. The Hoteo is Auckland’s longest river and eventually flows into the Kaipara Harbour. The replanting is part of a long term goal to save the important snapper breeding grounds in the harbour waters. 

So far John and Geraldine Taylor have raised twenty thousand dollars through the Million Metres Stream project. Replanting work’s about to start, the middle of next month, so David Steemson paid a call on the Taylors at their sheep and dairy grazing property in Tomarata.

BEFORE  John and Geraldine Taylor survey the 1 75 hectares area along the river the next piece to be replanted

BEFORE John and Geraldine Taylor survey the 1 75 hectares area along the river the next piece to be replanted Photo: RNZ/David Steemson

Up on the heights of John Taylor’s farm, the stream is little more than a trickle, coming out of the Te Arai Scenic Reserve land. As the crow flies it’s only a kilometre or two from the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of the North Island. But the Hoteo River actually runs 28 kilometres to the west, depositing itself into the Kaipara. On its way down the river collects a lot of sediment, half washed off pasture, and the river gouges the rest from its banks.

The Taylors began fencing off the waterways on their property  ten years ago, initially just to help with stock control.

“I have lost so many new born lambs over the years from drowning”, says John, “and during a big thunder storm a whole herd of cows took fright and ended up in the flooded river. One animal got washed downstream, but survived”.

Soon the Taylors learned of the benefits of replanting river margins, and did their first partly funded replanting, along a short bit of the riverbank three years ago.

Encouraged by the result, they plan to do a lot more, helped on by the Million Metres Stream project. This crowd funding platform is the brainchild of the Sustainable Business Network which is funded by New Zealand business, to help industry become more environmentally sustainable.

A Million metres Streams wants to help fund the replanting of one-thousand kilometres of riverbanks… one kilometre at a time.

“It’s ironic,” says John, “ in the first few years of farming I cleared away all the scrub along the river banks… actually good native manuka and cabbage trees. We just blitzed everything”.

Now he potentially has to raise 400-thousand dollars to put back all the native plants over all twelve hectares of river bank land he set aside.

He says if New Zealand wants to have clean water and plentiful snapper stocks, it’s got to be a joint effort, through such things as crowd funding.

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Ahuwhenua Young Maori Famer of the year

Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the Year

Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the Year Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Jack Rahahruhi manages an 1100 cow Landcorp farm at Cape Foulwind and last week was named Young Maori Farmer of the Year

 

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Young Maori Farmer of Year Finalist Ash-Leigh Campbell

Ash-Leigh Campbell

Ash-Leigh Campbell Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Ash-Leigh Campbell is studying at Lincoln University. She has plans to work her way into farm ownership and aims to become a leader in the dairy industry.

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Ahuwhenua Finalist Harepaora Ngaheu

Harepaora Ngaheu

Harepaora Ngaheu Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Farming has turned 24 year old Harepaora Ngaheu's life around. Harepaora lives at Te Teko near Whakatane and is proud to be a role model for other young Maori.

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Regional Wrap

Heifers on winter grazing in Southland

Dairy heifers on winter grazing in Southland Photo: RNZ / Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

It's been thundery and wet in the North Island . In the South cattle are on a winter rotation of swedes, kale, chowmolia and fodderbeet.

Tags:  farmingrural

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