All eyes were on Craig and Trish Sinclair last week as the winners of the Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year opened their gates for a field day to reveal the ins and outs of their very smart business.
Agriseeds sponsors the Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year and was proud to be there along with some 200 other visitors.
The Sinclairs farm two different and complementary blocks of land – 610 ha of higher altitude hill country Kohurau, which is 630 m ASL at the house, and a 285 ha flat lease block at Te Konini, which has an altitude of about 200 m.
The hill farm is characterised by colder, harder winters and usually good summers while the lease block tends to the opposite, with milder winters and more chance of dry summers.
Craig and Trish have done an excellent job of integrating these two contrasting environments to get the best out of each. They intensively farm the lease block, growing cereals and annual ryegrass for maximum cool season feed and red clover and plantain for high quality summer grazing.
This land is also used for early lambing and lamb finishing. About 750 five year old ewes lamb from 1 August, with all progeny finished as soon as possible. Depending on conditions, more lambs are then brought down from the hills to grow out on the high quality feed available. This year for example the lease block finished 2600 lambs.
On the home farm, the Sinclairs grow both swedes and kale, as well as some oats for winter feed. Over the past five years they have renewed 50 ha, and see new pasture as offering the biggest potential for further development of the farm.
They estimate renewal takes one to two years to pay for itself with the benefits including both extra DM and better stock performance.
“It’s great to see how well the Sinclairs have integrated different properties and feed options, including winter crops such as swedes, kale and cereals; winter/spring options like annual ryegrass; permanent pasture for year round growth and red clover and plantain for summer,” says Agriseeds area manager Paul Sharp.
“It’s also great to see that new perennial ryegrass pastures are being preceded by two winter crops on the Kohurau farm. This is so important with farm development to eliminate thatch and old grass weeds prior to sowing.”
“A system such as the Sinclairs’ is an ideal fit for Rohan SPR ryegrass, where you want paddocks to persist as long as possible and where easy-care pasture is important.”