High country farmers bearing up

Country kids . . . brothers Ted (11) and Ben (9) Williamson, of Glenbrook Station, share a laugh....
Country kids . . . brothers Ted (11) and Ben (9) Williamson, of Glenbrook Station, share a laugh. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Living in isolation is ‘‘business as usual’’ for most high country farmers, John Acland, of Mt Peel Station, says.

Mr Acland farms a 5000ha sheep, beef and deer property in Canterbury, and believes he is in a fortunate position.

‘‘I do not think farmers are suffering that much in comparison to businesses in town. In a lot of cases it is no different to normal — if you live on a high country farm by yourself, sometimes you do not see people for a reasonably long time anyway.

‘‘The most pressure on farmers is a feed issue and lack of ability to get stock killed. Freezing companies have been very good about it, though.’’

Mr Acland is looking at the positives in isolation — ‘‘I think it’s a great time to have family at home and go back to the basics. Sitting around playing cards and eating good food. Yeah, it is not all bad.’’

Simon Williamson, of Glenbrook Station, between Omarama and Twizel, had received  concerned calls regarding the future of stock and feed supplies.

George (10) and Ben (9) Williamson check out what is happening on Glenbrook Station. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
George (10) and Ben (9) Williamson check out what is happening on Glenbrook Station. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
‘‘People are not set up for [holding on to stock] — at this time of the year they would have gotten rid of their lambs and calves. These things are very fast becoming a serious problem,’’ he said.

‘‘I want the message out there that during this time we need to help one another where possible. Keep talking to your neighbours; if you think you are going to have surplus feed keep everyone in the loop.

‘‘We are pushing very hard for councils to have zero rate increases at this time. There is going to be a lot of pressure on the farming industry in the next 18 months, as government will rely heavily on the industry to support the economy.’’

Don Aubrey, who has been farming for the last 40 years at Ben McLeod station in the Rangitata Gorge, said it was not business as usual at the property, but he remained philosophical.

‘‘Things that would have taken five days will take 10. It just is what it is,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of high country properties have to be self contained as a matter of course. For example, we cannot shift any wool, so that needs to be stored on-farm.

‘‘The ability to move livestock is more arduous because a number of the transport firms are restricted in their operations.

‘‘We have managed to develop protocol for the way the farm operates and worked out our different bubbles for ourselves and staff, so that is working out fine. Fuel supplies are readily available, which is good and we are coming out of a growth season in South Canterbury so we are reasonably well equipped to face this.’’

Mr Aubrey said the lockdown had created challenges, but it was satisfying to see  compliance.

‘‘We certainly have not seen individuals coming into our valley trying to escape to the high country.’’

Add a Comment

Sponsored Content

 

 

drivesouth-pow-farming.png