More than a century of farming lifeblood flows through Simon and Trudy Hales' 970ha beef and sheep farm near Weber where the Hales family have farmed for more than 100 years.

The Hales are the fourth generation to farm the land and the couple have two small children, Rocky and Alby.

They are helping their business to thrive sustainably so it can endure and continue to succeed in the hands of future generations.

The well-balanced property, with flats to steeper hills, has a number of enterprises and continues to evolve, already enjoying an impressive journey to date.

Advertisement

In 2010, the Hale's created a business with Simon's parents, to allow Simon to take on full-time management of both their blocks, Takapau and Kereru.

In 2014, the neighbours block Claudelands - once farmed by the Hales family - came on the market. Simon and Trudy purchased this block and amalgamated it with the neighbouring Kereru block.

In June 2018, the Hales' then purchased the Kereru Block from Simon's parents as well as their shares in the farming company.

Today they carry 3850 ewes with a lambing percentage of 134-145. Last year, the Hales weaned 145 per cent at an average weight of 30kg. Their cattle policy is relatively flexible and dependent on markets.

The couple decided to enter the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards because they believe many farmers like themselves are committed to doing the right thing and they want to see greater recognition of this.

"Like anything, doing what's right isn't always what's easy, particularly when it comes to making financial commitments, but we are willing to make those investments," they said.

"We support getting eyes on our business because the judges coming to the farms are experts and successful in their own right. Their advice is free and helps us focus our energy, efforts and finances in ways that improve our operation."

With an aim to develop a sustainable business that provides opportunity for generations to come, the Hales' aspire to build strong equity year-on-year to ensure profitability - an achievement the judges cited as a true accomplishment.

Advertisement

They are equally concerned with improving their land with a vision to leave it in the best state possible. This has manifested in plans for a future programme of native planting to improve the farm's aesthetics and to mitigate the effect of soil loss through erosion; a decision that illuminates the Hales' significant soil knowledge.

Other commendable features on the Hales' property include the retirement or exclusion of the majority of the Akitio River from stock, Trudy's propagation of native seedlings with seeds sourced locally or on farm, which will be planted within riparian areas, allowing areas to revert to scrub for biodiversity values and the development of a health and safety plan.

Quick farm facts:
Type: Sheep and beef.
District: Dannevirke, Tararua
Total area: 970ha (819ha effective).