14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Alan & Khim Hellyer of Mahoenui - Sheep and beef.
A life-long dedication to farming is paying off at this Rodney sheep and beef farm that has been in the family for three generations. At the helm is Alan Hellyer who is committed to involving family in management of the farm as it is carefully nurtured to carry them into the future.
Mahoenui was entered into the Ballance Farm Environment Awards by youngest son Jamie who was keen for recognition of the decades of hard work that have gone into the farm.
Alan has farmed at Mahoenui all his adult life, overseeing development of the largely steep, hill country property as it has been transformed from scrub land to grass. The family now runs 1,500 sheep and 210 beef over 270ha. Breeding stock are run on hills and other animals fattened on flat land that is interspersed with mature native bush in gullies and steep slopes. The judges recognised Alan’s life-long dedication to farming, commending the family’s commitment to inter-generational participation and ownership that is setting it up nicely for the next generation.
Alan is rightly proud of improvements made to the farm that now features 45ha of native bush and radiata pines, plus seven recently retired and planted wetlands. The judges were impressed with his passion for keeping the property beautiful, including the protection of large areas of native bush that boast ancient kauri and tōtara.
The use of fertiliser is carefully managed, while water is mainly drawn from springs and streams on the property and pumped to water troughs for the animals.
Alan’s passion for the property is equaled by his desire to keep Mahoenui in the family and there is a strong focus on involving future generations, so they are willing and able to successfully carry it into the future.