Seven Central Hawke’s Bay students from Argyll East School made a trip to the Stortford Lodge saleyards to see cattle sold off their school farm.
The 2ha farm provides students with an opportunity to be farmers in their own right – although most come from farming families. The Farming Club has been going for many years and is currently run by Rose Hay.
All ages are encouraged to be part of the club and members range from new entrants through to Year 8 students.
Maddie Butler is one of the students involved in the Farm Club: “We meet each Friday morning to discuss what needs to be done, and to carry out any tasks that are needed, such as feeding calves, grubbing thistles and fixing fences.”
The general consensus from the group on what they enjoy most is doing all the jobs, even if they have to do them in the rain. Cattle are the main class of stock farmed on the property, along with chickens and some fish. Typically, the cattle are bought in as calves, and Maddie said they are put on a roster system to feed the calves.
Depending on the season, they will be grazed solely on the school farm, though in drier years neighbouring farms have taken the cattle on for a short period. The cattle are grown out and sold when it is appropriate to do so.
There is real passion among the students for farming their small block and they took great pride in seeing their cattle sold at the Wednesday sale. The students were up early to help load them onto the truck and the cattle were auctioned by Carrfields Livestock’s Ian MacEwan.
They offered up six R3 Shorthorn and beef-dairy steers, which weighed an impressive 692kg and sold for $2000, after a bidding war between two parties. They then offered one R2 Angus heifer called Pepper, which sold for $1160. Both lines were bought by Hazlett agent Rowan Sandford, who will farm them on, on his own property.
The proceeds from the sale will be used to purchase and feed more calves in the near future, as well as purchase farm equipment that the students have seen a need for. This includes thistle grubbers, electric fence reels and standards and hammers.