Investment in farm as good as gold

Ele and Grant Ludemann at their Onslow View farm at Millers Flat. Photo by Helena de Reus.
Ele and Grant Ludemann at their Onslow View farm at Millers Flat. Photo by Helena de Reus.
A 3000ha farm at Millers Flat is the ''jewel in the crown'' for North Otago-based farmer Grant Ludemann.

Mr Ludemann and his wife Ele bought Onslow View in 2008 and it is part of their extensive stable of farming operations throughout the South Island.

It covers a total of 3036ha, ranging in altitude from 120m to 997m above sea level.

Managed by Jason and Karyn Templeton, the farm also employs two shepherds, a tractor driver, and a casual farm worker.

Once the Ludemanns bought the property through their company EGL Pastoral, they began a major development programme, funded by their other farming interests.

''We love developing properties ... Everything we did on this farm turned to gold,'' Mr Ludemann said.

''It is certainly the jewel in the crown for EGL.''

He said he felt privileged to own property in a valley that was full of passionate sheep farmers.

''Other people have jet-boats and flash holiday homes - I have Onslow View.''

The farm is split into 110 paddocks and seven tussock blocks. Crops include 40ha of fodder beet, 80ha of swedes, 12ha kale, 30ha of rape and moata, and 100ha of ryecorn.

As of February this year, the farm was running 10,000 breeding ewes (Perendale and Romney), 16,000 finishing lambs, 4000 works ewes and 145 rams.

It also runs 500 Angus breeding cows, 807 15-month cattle - 707 steers, 50 mixed-sex Charolais, and 50 in-calf heifers - 50 mixed-sex Angus calves, and 215 Friesian-cross dairy heifer calves.

A recent Beef and Lamb New Zealand Farming for Profit field day held at the farm focused on the Central Progeny Test (CPT) which aims to help sheep farmers identify the best genetics across sheep breeds.

AbacusBio managing director Neville Jopson said the test evaluated progeny performance under the same conditions.

The CPT provided vital genetic connections that broaden the world's largest across-flock, across-breed genetic evaluation service - SIL-Advanced Central Evaluation.

The test began in 2002 at three sites - Poukawa in Hawkes Bay, Woodlands in Southland, and Ashley Dene in Canterbury.

Last year, Ovita established two hill sites - Koromiko in the Wairarapa, and Onslow View at Millers Flat.

The additional sites meant the performance of animals in a harder environment could be measured, Mr Jopson said.

The original three sites were on lower, easier farmland.

''What you want from your ram breeder is to get the best ram for your environment.''

The Onslow CPT involved mating 15 dual-purpose rams and two link sires to 860 commercial Perendale-Romney ewes in 2013 increasing to 1000 ewes this season.

Mr Ludemann said the attraction of the CPT was to compare the genetics they were using on the farm with the best genetics in New Zealand.

-helena.dereus@odt.co.nz