First time entrants take title
First time entrants to the Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year competition, Paul and Marie Renton, have been judged the winners of this year’s event.
The Rentons say the secret to their success has been attention to detail and in particular focusing on monitoring and recording, matching feed demand and supply, resource management and getting good people around them.
The Rentons farm at Mangatahi, west of Hastings, on Glenmore, a farm that has been in Paul’s family for five generations since 1859. Marie also grew up on a farm in Wairoa.
Paul and Marie took over Glenmore from Paul’s parents, John and Margaret, in 1996 and this is their seventh season as a full finishing property after converting from breeding.
The reason for the shift in their farming operation was to help drought-proof the farm by diversifying their operation.
“This gives us more flexibility with our stocking policy as we can match our feed demand and supply,” explains Paul.
The Rentons farming business is comprised of three main parts.
Around 2000 mixed-sex lambs are finished over winter-spring and 1500 in summer. The deer operation sees 700-750 weaners bought each year for finishing.
The cattle operation comprises 350-400 bulls, bought each year as calves or yearlings, as well as 350-400 R2 bulls. Another side to their operation is 32ha of forestry providing further diversification.
The climate is their biggest challenge – summer dry and wind prone.
The 544ha property (481ha effective) is half flat-to-rolling paddocks and half rolling-hill paddocks. The altitude ranges from 407 metres above sea level down to 234m with annual rainfall of around 900mm.
The Rentons have been using Farmax for around nine years, which Paul says has given them a good bank of valuable data so they can match feed supply to demand throughout the year.
Pasture management is also big focus.
They have a 45ha bull beef techno system and generally favour rotational grazing as opposed to set stocking in their whole farming operation.
They say this gives them more control enabling them to keep grass quality high and utilization maximized.
Marie’s passion is planting and designing where the trees will go on the farm. Paul says there is more potential to fence off waterways and for riparian planting.
They also have plans for more subdivision, extending laneways, re-grassing and cultivating paddocks.
The Rentons have three children: Elsa, 23, Hugh, 21, and Zana, 16. Despite their diverse and busy farming operation the Rentons overall focus remains constant: striving for excellence in all their physical and environmental o perations.
“You can never say you have farming sussed,” says Paul. “You have to have your finger on the pulse all the time and be proactive and continue to do your best. This award has shown us we are on the right track but we will keep striving for excellence because there are always things you can do better.
“We want to be successful at what we do and also to give our children the opportunities we had to succeed in life.”