12 April 2017
Masterton farmers Nathan and Kate Williams' arable and sheep and beef finishing business spans both sides of a section of the road to Castlepoint, about 4km east of Masterton.
Most years the 335ha farm’s income is split around half and half between their crops and livestock. They are flexible in what they grow, basing their decisions on the market, contracts available and climatic conditions. However, core crops in recent years have been ryegrass and red clover for seed, barley and peas. Around 35ha is cut for silage each year and turnips are an autumn feed crop for lambs.
Each winter they take in hoggets to graze until late spring. Between 3000 and 6000 lambs are continually purchased and finished throughout autumn, winter and spring annually. They buy in between 180 and 240 weaner cattle each autumn which they aim to finish by the following May, thus ensuring soil compaction is avoided with the heavier animals gone before winter.
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards judges said Otahuao Farm was run by a strong couple whose combined skillset and industry knowledge has developed this “exceptional example of dryland farming”.