15 February 2019
Lundsdale Farms is in hardworking, loyal hands. This 938ha sheep and beef entity is a family business involving husband and wife Niels and Fiona, and Niels’ parents. Niels and Fiona manage the day-to-day operation of the business while Niels’ parents are 50% shareholders.
Niels’ parents sold their previous farm and purchased the first of three blocks in partnership with Niels in 1989. The farm currently runs 1685 ewes and winters 1500-1600 cattle. Their Kiwitech system is a new innovation on-farm which runs 200 cattle with further progress on the horizon.
An agile business model has blessed the business with the ability to identify and explore new ideas, diversifying in different ways, as and when appropriate. The potential to do so is instrumental to the business realising two of its key aspirations - to continue improving profitability across the business and to create a sustainable business model for the next generation to one day take the reins.
The judges were impressed by the performance of the business in terms of its production. There is a clear understanding held by the family as to how they can leverage opportunities such as continual subdivision, water, and increasing fertility to maximise production. A comprehensive appreciation of the different classes of land, what production capability each has, and how to capitalise on this, is also an advantage for the educated team.
Biodiversity is a key focus with Taranaki Regional Council stress projects well-utilised by the business and 7km of fencing funded on-farm. Four gorge systems have been retired to pines and native bush, and on the valley floors, Kahikatea are being fenced off to protect the natives and optimise the land that is left. The judges described this endeavour as a wonderfully practical approach to biodiversity.
Through collaborative and complementary partnerships with the regional council and the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) in an environmental scheme, Niels and Fiona are trying to optimise land management units to enhance opportunities with the best land, and protect waterways and at-risk land.
With a lot of ideas on the table, including the development of wetlands and ponds for kōura (freshwater crayfish) - a potential passive income stream or feed for the family - conservation is clearly a cause dear to the Hansens’ heart.
Of entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards Niels says, “Fiona and I are a team and we recognise with these sorts of opportunities there is a lot of learning to be had. We don’t need to win to be winners. From the two meetings we had with the judges, we have already had feedback that will help us succeed. Being involved generates new thinking and ideas.”
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award
Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award
Taranaki Regional Council Sustainability Award