Friday, July 1, 2022

Thinking about tomorrow

The foundations of David and Hilary Ward’s super intensive farming system are built on  planning and long-standing relationships.

The 2007 Supreme winners of the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards have daily, weekly and long-term strategic plans to keep the production cogs turning.

“With intensive cropping, grazing and off-season finishing it never stops; we don’t have a down time.”

To keep on track there’s a whiteboard in their kitchen with daily commitments and appointments, and another one in the farmyard office/smoko room detailing crops and stock movements. David also has the enviable ability to reel off past and future cropping/grazing detail of each paddock plus numerous facts and figures about the wider farming business.

The Wards have built relationships with people to help keep the system running as smoothly as possible. On the weaner side of the business they deal with a few agents and breeders who have a good understanding of what type of animal is needed and when. All stock is slaughtered by Alliance, with David planning and booking killing space five weeks in advance.

The Wards employ two staff, both of whom have worked on the property for at least six years. Over the years they have maintained a good working relationship with farm consultant Barry Crowder who has both challenged and supported them.

“I’m a stickler for loyalty,” David says. “I think of a business relationship in terms of at least a five-year term … I think farmers and meat companies need to think this way.”

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