Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Gift of cows sets course for 62 head herd

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A West Coast farmer received heifers for his 21st birthday and hasn’t looked back.
An annual rainfall of 4000mm makes for soggy conditions most of the time, producing some of New Zealand’s hardiest animals.
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By Emma Blom, AgriHQ/Farmers Weekly cadet

Mark Murphy farms on the West Coast, just south of Hokitika, on a 575ha block with 100ha in hump and hollow and an annual rainfall of 4000mm. He produces some of New Zealand’s hardiest animals, having experienced -13degC winters in the Howard valley and withstood rain, hail and shine. 

Murphy grew up on a dairy support unit near the Nelson Lakes. After leaving school he worked at Lakes Station, where Rotoiti Herefords are farmed, and developed a keen interest in the breed. This led to being involved in showing and judging cattle at the Christchurch show and working for Rob and Mary Ann Burrows on Beechwood Herefords. 

For Murphy’s 21st birthday he received two Hereford cows, one from Rotoiti and and one from Beechwood Herefords. Slowly his herd had been building up from previously gifted animals. The support from both studs with AI and allowing him to sell bulls with the farm auction gave Murphy a leg up in establishing his herd. With his strong support system around him, Longacre Herefords was able to progress rapidly. 

Longacre Herefords currently has 62 mixed-aged cows and is breaking into the market with repeat customers liking the genetics and characteristics of the Herefords. Murphy said he is happy with his herd size and wants to focus on “quality over quantity” in the future to further establish his genetics in the market, focusing on both the beef dairy and beef markets.  

New Zealand Hereford Youth took Murphy to Australia after he was awarded a scholarship to attend training expeditions, and he was in the NZ team for the World Hereford Conference. Becs Patterson is to thank for getting Murphy involved in the Future Beef committee. 

“NZ Hereford Youth is showing the way” for youth programmes in the beef industry, Murphy said.

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