Emma Blom, AgriHQ/Farmers Weekly cadet
Just shy of Cheviot in the Hurunui District of north Canterbury, the Jeffries family farm Angus, Hereford and Romney stock on a 600ha block consisting of medium and steep native hill, 70ha of medium downs and 80ha of irrigated pastures. This allows the family of four – Chris, Amanda, Gus and Maddie – to carry around 3000 stock units, including registered Angus and Hereford cows.
The family work together on business ventures, including a vineyard in East Marlborough contract growing sauvignon blanc on a 27ha block for Whitehaven. Maddie is studying viticulture and oenology at Lincoln University. The university holidays are perfectly timed for Maddie to help with tractor work on the vineyard. Gus also helps on the farm and intends to start a heavy diesel mechanic apprenticeship.
Tom and Suzanne Jeffries established Grassmere Herefords in 1966. Chris grew up with Herefords and took over the stud from his parents, calving proximity 100 Hereford with a similar amount for Riverlands J Angus, the subsequent stud. Both breeds have similar growth rates and produce quality beef, and Chris enjoys working with both breeds but notices a better temperament with Hereford cows.
“My direction is exactly the same with both breeds,” he said. The future of the studs includes growing the number of bulls available for the annual on-farm sale, when Hereford and 18 Angus bulls are sold. With breeding plans, Chris can take the cows in a controlled direction by using available technology and data to follow genetics.
“The technology is there to use”, creating a better bottom line for the stud and ultimately the clients, Chris said.