3 June 2020
Jeff Martin and Helen Linssen of Te Karoa Farms - Beef.
Jeff and Helen specialise in beef bull production, managing three independent blocks in Kaeo, with a combined farm of 484 hectares, including 307 hectares effective.
The three blocks have been acquired at different times over the past 19 years, and all have unique features and challenges. With steep hill sections looking over Otangaroa Valley, and predominantly rolling pastures, the three blocks include a combined 80 hectares of native bush and 34 hectares in fenced off rivers, wetlands, gullies and water courses.
Helen and Jeff focus on production of premium 100kgLW bulls, buying them in late spring and selling them the following summer as R2 bulls. This provides returning liveweight gains per hectare well above district averages.
Animal welfare is a constant focus and they work closely with their local vet regarding animal welfare strategies and field trials.
By carrying lighter animals, there is less damage to pasture and soils by avoiding intensive winter pugging. The success of this management plan is evident in the quality of pasture grown on hard clay loam soils in the hilly areas.
Jeff and Helen use grazing cell methods which allows the stock to be moved every two days, ensuring long winter rotations. To achieve this, GPS mapping technology was used to divide the properties into grazing cells, based on pasture, soil, topography and access to water.
Helen and Jeff’s most recent project is the Fosters block, purchased in 2016 with poor fencing and no water systems. They have since invested heavily, building a 5.5 million litre dam, installing 15 kilometres of water line with nearly 80 troughs, building 20 kilometres of fencing and installing a solar powered pump.
Jeff and Helen showed exceptional foresight when it came to planning the block’s water reticulation system. GPS mapping was again used, and in the process, all the waterways, wetlands and non-productive areas identified as critical source areas for contaminant loss were retired.
As well as being actively involved in industry initiatives and the wider community, Jeff and Helen are very generous with their time and knowledge, supporting staff member Mathew on the farm and mentoring a neighbouring couple through an extension programme.