On the next episode, screening 19 February 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
Raising the Steaks
It’s springtime at Kakahu Angus Stud near Geraldine in Canterbury, and calving is in full-swing for farmer Tom Hargreaves.
In the last few years Tom has been gradually taking over the running of the farm from his father Gerald.
“The learning curve’s been huge,” says Tom “I hadn’t farmed apart from holiday jobs but Dad was very happy to drop the reins when he thought I was able to take over.”
And after forty years building up the Angus Stud business, Gerald Hargreaves agrees that it’s in safe hands: “Toms doing a great job; the cattle look better, he’s enthusiastic and he’s upped the ante.”
And Tom’s got a very full plate at the moment. Along with running the farm, he also works as a qualified architect alongside his wife Anna who’s a designer.
“I do all the structure and Anna takes over and does the interior design, the colours, the kitchen. It works really well” says Tom.
The 1100 hectare farm raises sheep and beef, but the main focus is breeding stud bulls which they sell at their annual winter sale at the station.
In the lead-up to that sale they’re constantly measuring the growth of the bulls. But not just using their weights; they use ultra-sound to measure the intra-muscular fat and size of the muscle which gives us the eye-fillet steak.
Tom and Gerald say accurate measurements like this gives much better information than simply eyeing up an animal in the yards.
The information gleaned here gets sent back to a large database in Australia and gets recorded against all the other progeny from the sire bull.
That data is then used to give a genetic prediction of what that bull will likely pass on to the cows in a farmer’s herd, in terms traits such as weight, calving ease, marbling in the muscle and so on.
Come auction day, all that data for the all bulls on sale, including the animals’ fertility traits, carcass weights, and growth rates, are listed in the auction catalogue.
But as the afternoon passes and the hammer falls on the hundred bulls up for auction, Gerald’s left the auction ring to take up his new post, out the back in the yards.
“I’m right down at the bottom now where I should be!” he laughs. “But that’s generation turn over – it’s the way it should be.”
And Tom’s looking forward to the future of the stud. “I see farming as a big business, so there’s no point trying to know everything. I’m big believer in having people in my team who are better than me.”
For more about Kakahu Angus, visit:www.kakahuangus.com/
Kakahu on Facebook:www.facebook.com/KakahuAngus/?fref=ts
Camera & Aerial Photography
Editor & Colourist
Post Production Manager
Director & Associate Producer