Te Roroa Angus cattle on the Maunganui Bluff
The land package in the Te Roroa Claim Settlement (December 2008) included six operational beef farms. At the time of transfer to Te Roroa, these farms were all managed by lessees.
In the words of Gareth Baynham of Agfirst Northland "The farms have huge potential; their free draining nature and coastal location make them relatively unique in Northland."
The inaugural Board determined to focus on other priorities at that time and so the farms remained under the management of lessees. Since then there has been a shift in position as well as a compilation of an Iwi strategic plan which includes Iwi aspirations to systematically gain total control of all Iwi farms.
In May 2012, lease arrangements for the Waihoupai North farm had to be cancelled when the lessee could not raise funds and other prospective lessees were unwilling to pay reasonable rentals. The decisions was then made to form a farm company and commence farming on our own behalf and so on the 30th July 2012 the Te Roroa Farm Development Company was incorporated.
Initially the Waihoupai North farm was stocked with dairy cross steers with the intent to fatten and send to slaughter. However we have found that this class of cattle struggle to fatten because of the neglect our farm has suffered at the hands of the previous lessee and so we have made the decision to move into breeding cows. Breeding cows are the most cost effective way to turn poor quality pasture into net returns. However with the significant development and improvement in pasture quality being carried out under current management it is likely that we will move into breeding and finishing our own cattle. Currently we are carrying 360 mixed age in calf cows and 100 run with the bull heifers on the Waihoupai north farm.
KAHARAU DAIRY FARM
The Kaharau dairy farm was purchase from Mrs Barbara Coulter on 1st August 2012 which then made Te Roroa the owners of seven farms. The seven farms comprise an area of 3,028.246 hectares (7,267.79 acres approx.) over 50% of the total holdings of Te Roroa.
When the Kaharau farm was purchased there was a share milker already contracted for that season. With a decision made by the share milker to leave at the end of that season, the TRFDC decided to buy a herd of dairy cows and employ a manager to run the farm. This decision has proven to be very beneficial for Te Roroa, with not having to share profits with a third party and an increase in Fonterra payouts.
Kaharau Farm also carries 60 beef cows on the area too steep or rough for the dairy cows.
In our first season milking cows on Kaharau we have already managed to increase milk production on the previous season and have run our operation for the full season without a penalty grade. This has set a high standard for management and staff. Our dairy farm staff have been congratulated for the effort that they have put in and we look forward to the coming milking season. Our full year of control of the farm, improve pasture quality and general condition of the farm, we look forward to increased milk production and better grown beef cattle in the future.