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Father and son show how it’s done

Father and son show how it’s done

North Otago farmers Colin and Stefan Mavor, a father and son partnership operating Braemorn Farm, Airedale, near Oamaru, are the 2008 Lincoln University Foundation Farmer of the Year Competition winners.

In the final held at Lincoln University today (25 November) they won from a field of five after completing the last hurdle in the judging process, the public presentation session.

This year’s category for the competition was “Meat Production” and the Mavors win a $15,000 travel award.

The runners-up were husband and wife combination Richard and Jane Maxwell of Mount Catherine, near Cheviot, North Canterbury, and they won a prize of $7500.

The Mavors’ Braemorn Farm is a lamb and steer production unit based on buying in steer calves, mainly Angus, to winter over then on-selling to Five Star Beef. Outside of Landcorp they are Five Star’s biggest beef supplier. They describe the alliance with Five Star as the “key” to the success of their beef operation. On the lamb side, through a combination of their own ewe flock and use of the Lambplan they supply to Canterbury Meat Packers. Over 75 percent of their own lambs are sold prime by the end of February.

Colin said that making the finals of the Lincoln University Foundation competition was a highlight of his farming careers.

The Maxwells, on Mount Catherine, run Friesian bulls and achieve four times the meat production of the average South Island hill country property. Four features had made this possible, they said: changing to Friesian bulls on their particular class of country and elevation; increasing subdivision within their property; a commitment to lifting the fertility regardless of the difficulty of the season; and striving to have good long-term relationships   throughout the industry.

They said that establishing an intensive bull finishing system on hill country had been an interesting and rewarding challenge. Topography was never seen as a limitation to their operation.

All the finalists acknowledged the important contribution of their staff members to the success of their enterprises.

Neil Taylor, Chairman of the Lincoln University Foundation, described the finalists as an outstanding group of farmers who demonstrated all the virtues of good practice and a willingness to be innovative. Their stories were uplifting examples of what is being achieved by New Zealand meat producers.

The competition, now in its 26th year, has Rabobank and Ravensdown as sponsors.

End

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