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Council farm unit performs well

Council farm unit performs well

10 August 2005

A predicted deficit in the Auckland Regional Council’s farming unit has been turned into a $75,229 surplus.

The result for the year ending 30 June 2005 was reported to the council’s Parks and Heritage Committee today [Wednesday 10 August]. A deficit of $65,397 had been predicted in the budget.

Councillor Bill Burrill, councillor representative on the ARC’s Farm Advisory Group, says that the ARC is one of the region’s largest farmers, managing a total of 9950 stock (4860 sheep and 1029 cattle) on 920 hectares of farmland.

“Many people don’t realise that a number of our regional parks are also working farms.

“The key priority of our farm business unit focuses on public good – providing a countryside landscape with a range of recreation, heritage, conservation and education activities. It’s great to see this goal being achieved in addition to optimal economic return,” he says.

Farm Business Unit Manager Trevor Wadams says the result is pleasing after a year which provided many challenges for staff and management.

“We dealt with a long summer drought and high facial eczema spore counts, which impacted on livestock production and performance.

“Our rangers implemented some excellent farm management practices to overcome this difficult seasonal period.

“The surplus was achieved through good livestock performance and by obtaining good prices for lamb, beef and wool,” says Mr Wadams.

Another highlight for the farm business unit was the purchase of rare New Zealand sheep breeds to support the education programmes at Ambury Regional Park in Mangere. Pitt Island, Omahaki and Mohaka breeds were purchased.

A survey found 99 per cent visitor satisfaction with farm parks and 90 per cent satisfaction for farming infrastructure and facilities.

Mr Wadams says public good elements, for example presenting a high quality park and managing visitor activities, means costs are higher compared to commerical farming.

ENDS

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