14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Dan & Billie Herries of Taramoa — Sheep & beef.
Puketitiri sheep and beef farm, Taramoa, has been managed by Dan and Billie Herries since July 2015 for owners Andrew Herries (Dan’s cousin) and Wayne and Nicky Breeze. Dan has been visiting the property since he was young and has a strong connection to the land.
The 564-hectare farm – 412 hectares effective – is half rolling, quarter flat and quarter steep – and is typically summer safe. It is run in conjunction with Hauiti Farm at Havelock North, which is typically summer dry.
Taramoa runs 9.7 stock units to the hectare, including 2136 Romney / quarter Texel ewes, 770 ewe hoggets, 100 mixed age Angus cows, 36 replacement R2 heifers and 30 R1 heifers. The farm is externally accredited by Global Animal Partnership (Step 4) demonstrating the high level of animal welfare and environmental standards needed for entry into the premium US lamb market through Atkins Ranch.
Taramoa is located between the Kaweka Forest Park and Ball’s Clearing Scenic Reserve. More than 100 hectares is retired from grazing and ranges from 400-year-old red beech forest to regenerating podocarp, manuka and wetland species.
Both Dan and Billie spent their initial careers working around the country for the Department of Conservation. The Herries’ are volunteers with the Save our Kaweka Kiwi group as kiwi are present on the property or near the boundary, as are bats, robins and kaka. A comprehensive predator trapping network covers the whole property. Extensive riparian fencing and planting of more than 20,000 native plants has been carried out on the farm, eco-sourcing and propagating seed where possible.
There are several kilometres of shelterbelts utilising a variety of species including native, pines and gums, and poplar poles have also been planted for erosion control and shade and shelter.
Dan is a member of the Puketitiri Rural Fire Force and Billie coordinates the native shade house at Patoka School and coordinates the Mangatutu Stream Restoration Project. Dan and Billie work together on Taramoa Farm along with their two children Luke and Eva.