Ian Troughton's family have farmed near Patetonga in the Hauraki Plains for more than a hundred years. But now - they're being forced off the land.

"It's been a bad month, I've... been placed into receivership 2-3 weeks ago just as the flooding started. But I feel that the floods have been an excuse to desecrate my business."

Mr Troughton went into receivership on April 3rd - about the time the heavy rain started to fall.

Last week - receivers removed his stock from the waterlogged farm - selling them at a Wrightson's sales for around $800 a head - less than half the price Mr Troughton got for stock in the same herd a few months ago.


He admits he has had difficulty making payments to the bank, but feels the sale of his stock didn't deliver the true worth of his stock, "so everybody loses, the bank and myself".

"The downturn in the last two or three years has put many people under pressure and I'm a victim of that. We are coming out of that, we are coming into a high power period and we were forecasting positive cash flows."

And Mr Troughton says he has heard from some of the farmers who purchased his stock who can't believe their luck at the bargain prices they paid for his in-calf cows.

"The receivers and the bank are meant to be working for the bank and myself, to give animals away for that sort of money is criminal as far as I'm concerned."

Mr Troughton estimates he lost around $250,000 dollars as a result of the move.

In a written statement Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) receiver John Fisk said the farm was overstocked - and the flooding made it imperative to take action to reduce numbers immediately.

"Floods heightened the need to deal with the over-stocking, which is why the sale occurred. We (PWC) do not consider the stock was sold at undervalue. We note the current situation regarding stock prices will be especially volatile given the recent flooding across the North Island and consequential lack of grazing," Mr Fisk says.

Mr Troughton doesn't accept that claim - he says there was plenty of dry feed stored in silage stacks.


"The bank just wants it's money back irrespective of the fortunes moving forward, so it's going to wipe us out, you know we're a family business. The farm's been in the family since 1913 and we stand to lose everything."

And while PWC say they would have liked to have seen better prices for Mr Troughtons in-calf cows, the prices they got on the day reflected the current market circumstances "and the condition of the cows put up for sale."

"Some may say a receiver's sale results in a discount to market prices, this is not always the case," Mr Fisk says.

Rural financial commentator Don Fraser, who owns Fraser Farm Finance, says banks wouldn't slam a receivership on a farm without plenty of warning. He advises farmers near tipping point to sell up while they're still in control.

But "a lot of farmers become stubborn and they'll hang on, and then get nothing," Mr Fraser says.

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