14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Michael & Mandy and Richard & Jenny Loffler of Loffler Partnership — Sheep & beef, kiwifruit & citrus.
Mike Loffler is the fifth generation on the family farm at Whangara, after taking over from his parents Richard and Jenny. Mike and Mandy have leased the sheep, beef, kiwifruit and citrus property from the Loffler Family Trust for the past seven years.
The 320ha property ranges from 30 metres above sea level to 150m.
It is mainly a sheep and beef breeding and finishing farm with all animals sold prime off the property. It runs 1150 Coopworth-Romney cross ewes, 360 ewe hoggets, 100 Angus-Simmental cross cows, 33 replacement R1 heifers, 20 R1 bulls and 70 R1 steers and heifers.
They plan to fence and covenant native bush blocks in the next two years. Native shelter belts have been planted for shelter and shade and poplar and willow poles for erosion control.
Extensive work has been done on the farm’s main waterway to stop erosion and tile drains have been installed to stop sediment loss through open drains. Natural springs are used for reticulated water to stock.
Both orchards meet Euro Gap compliance standards.
The kiwifruit orchard has metered irrigation from the Tangamatai Stream. The scale of the kiwifruit orchard has grown in the past five years. It has 3.6 hectares of gold fruit with another 1.4 hectares under development. Last season’s production on 1.8 hectares was 27,000 trays (15,000 per hectare) – the other 1.8 hectares of kiwifruit is in its first year of production for 2020 and will be at full production by 2022.
The citrus has one hectare of lemon trees producing 47 tonnes and three hectares of oranges producing 45 tonnes (15 tonnes per hectare). The citrus was planted eight years ago to help with succession and allowing Mandy to stay at home with their young family.
Mike is on the local school Board of Trustees, president of the Whangara farm discussion group and coaches their boys’ rugby team. Mandy is president/secretary at the local kindergarten and works a few hours in the local school office.