Diverse farm operation fully self contained

Diverse farm operation fully self contained
PHOTOS: Jay and Bev McGuinness with their four children; Alice 12, Sam 10, Brodie 9 and Fergus 6. Flat Point Station’s 3400 hectares straddles nine kilometres of the Wairarapa coastline. The business is a diverse operation incorporating sheep, beef, a supplementary feed business and manuka honey

Passion and diversification have proven to be the cornerstones of success for coastal Wairarapa farmers Jay and Bev McGuinness.
Jay’s love of the land, turning grass into meat, trying new things and a penchant for all things machinery have led to a balanced business portfolio insulating against the vagaries of farming fortunes.
Jay was six years old when his parents, John and Mary, bought Flat Point Station in 1980, then consisting of 2000 hectares and run as a sheep and beef breeding operation.
Straddling nine kilometres of Wairarapa coastline, the McGuinness’ have twice added to the farm bringing the current size to 3400 hectares.
Working with his father, Jay eventually took over the running of the farm and in 2014 along with Bev and his younger brother Charles, established Flat Point Station Ltd taking over the stock and plant and leasing the land from the family trust.
Today, the farm is a diverse operation that incorporates sheep and beef with a supplementary feed business along with some manuka honey.
“There’s 400 hectares of tractor country ranging from coastal flats to river flats going onto the rolling terrace flats. About 1700 hectares of the land is effective for sheep and beef.”
The farm is currently home to 4500 Wairere composite ewes with 1000 hoggets going to the ram, along with 350 Angus cows and 100 Angus R2 heifers that go to a Dandaloo Angus bull.
In recent years Jay has reduced ewe numbers while lifting the lambing percentage by 20% – producing just as many lambs as before but with less cost.Our scanning percentage is up around 165% whereas before hand it would have been 145%.
Our weaned lambing percentage is 145%. We also winter fatten 4000 autumn lambs bought store as early as December.
All our finished lambs are sold to ANZCO Foods with two thirds going to Waitrose supermarkets contract in the UK.

Diverse farm operation fully self contained
Lucerne baleage ready to be trucked out to clients.

Some cull heifers are sold store while all bulls are finished with two thirds leaving the farm before the second winter as R2s.
“We also run a couple of hundred Friesian bulls bought store, and graze around 300 dairy cows over the winter for six weeks.”
A further 1000 hectares is used for manuka honey production with 800 hives on contract – another step in Flat Point’s diversification journey, with supplementary feed production, sales and transport forming another key part of the business.
“Lucerne grows really well on the coast and we came up with the supplementary feed market when the lamb downturn was really bad. It wasn’t worth grazing the land so we started to cut the lucerne and that’s where the business grew from.”
The opportunity to diversify the farming business into a supplementary feed operation matched Jay’s passion for machinery, enabling both to grow without going down the path of a big contracting operation.
“We grow a lot of the product ourselves but also have three contract growers in Martinborough and Gladstone growing lucerne and grass products for us.
“We do all the agricultural work for those products, and baling for the growers while we’re there. Diverse farm operation fully self contained Richard Loader We’ve grown a supplementary feed business that solely services inside the farm and we don’t use any outside contractors.”
Transporting 4000 bales of lucerne balage north to the dairy goat farms in the Waikato and Taranaki each year, the operation provides 365 days a year supply to the dairy goat industry, affording Flat Point Station Ltd continuous cash flow.
“We have a truck and trailer going north three day a week.
We grow about a third of our supplementary feed at Flat Point Station with about 70 hectares of lucerne heading north.
We also do a trade in straw, hay and grass silage.
With the frost-free coastal climate, Flat Point Station can get seven cuts of lucerne each year.
“The whole farm is completely self-contained and that relates to our business operation as well.
We make quite a bit of baleage for our own farm and do a lot of feed cropping.
“Our fert spreading and spraying, even our grain harvesting and all our transport, livestock included, is all self contained.
“We only use outside carriers for livestock when we’re busy.”
Going forward, Jay and Bev and their four children – Alice 12, Sam 10, Brodie 9 and Fergus 6 – will continue to consolidate what they already have and ensure the farm remains as environmentally friendly as possible in what must be one of the most beautiful farming locations in the country.
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