Two brothers, three farms, one team

Two brothers, three farms, one team
Cameron and Robert grant run over 20,000 romney ewes and around 950 cattle on three separate farms totalling 4226 hectares in the Hokonui district near Gore.

If there was ever evidence that family teams and partnerships can work, Southland brothers Cameron and Robert Grant would have to be it.
Always good mates growing up on land that has been in the family since the days of their greatgrandparents, farming shapes their DNA. Cameron says that perhaps farming with his brother was always on the cards.
Expanding the family land by 1200ha in recent years covering a total of 4226 hectares, the brothers now farm in partnership, operating three separate farms owned under three separate entities.
Each brother looks after half the stock. Father, Peter, looks after some stock on the original home farm, a 172hectare piece of land. Cameron says his father, who has just had knee replacement surgery and recently turned 72, still turns up for work every now and then – you can’t keep a good Southern man down for long.
Each brother has his own patch of land to look after on a day-to-day basis, making independent decisions about stock movements and grazing.
Robert manages a 900ha property at Otapiri at the head of the Otapiri Stream, along with a 890ha property called The Tin House; so named because when the property was purchased the only building on it was an old tin house.
Cameron looks after Campbells Block; a 2260hectare farm at the head of the Otamita Stream, with its back boundary the highest point in the Hokonui Hills.
The longest distance between farms is 40km – a 20-minute drive between any two farms. Located in the Hokonui District, Gore is the service town of choice.
Cameron says he, Robert and their father are in daily contact with each other, with all major decisions involving things like capital expenditure and animal welfare being discussed and mutually agreed.
Preferring romneys because they are a good traditional breed, providing a good lambing percentage, Robert and Cameron run 20,400 ewes to the ram achieving 147% lambs tailed this season.

Two brothers, three farms, one team
Southland farming brothers Robert and Cameron Grant discuss farming operations (above left) while Robert gets in the trenches installing a drainage line at Otapiri.

Of 7000 hoggets, Cameron says about 2000 were mated, providing 1200 lambs. “We fatten everything. It’s sort of money and season driven in terms of what we fatten to.
Last season we averaged 19.6kg carcass weight and this year it will be somewhere between 17.5kg and 18kg – driven by weather and money.” He says they only breed what they need to replace so 45% of the ewes get mated to a blackface terminal sire. 950 beef cows complete the farm’s stock.
Traditionally finished on-farm, good money for store cattle and tighter summer feed has influenced decisions to sell the steers store in recent years. Cameron says he’s often asked about how the partnership relationship works.
“I hear of so many issues involving father and son relationships or issues between siblings. I always say that family teams do work – as long as you are prepared to put the effort in. A key is to never leave without saying all there is to be said and never hold a grudge.”
Sage advice. The bottom line – you can do it, but good communication is always at the heart of good relationships.
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