2018 a bumper year for Southland farming family

2018 a bumper year for South farming familyland
Texel genetics have been introduced into the romney fl ock. Inset: Logan Wallace, 2018 Southland Otago Young Farmer of the Year.

It’s hard to imagine how Waipahi sheep farmer Logan Wallace fits work in among his numerous extra-curricular interests.
In April Logan joined the race to be crowned the 50th FMG Young Farmer of the Year after he was named the Otago/Southland FMG Young Farmer of the Year for a second time.
When not farming or competing in Young Farmers, Logan somehow still finds time for roles as Otago Federated Farmers liaison for the Otago Southland Young Farmers regional executive, an executive member of the award-winning Pomahaka Water Care Group, a member of Eastern Southland Land SAR and a church youth leader.
The 28 year-old farms 270 effective hectares on a 290ha property, about 20 kilometres from Gore, leased from his parent’s Ross and Alexa Wallace’s family trust.
Logan owns the farm’s stock and plant. He is in the running for National Young Farmer’s title after taking out the hotly-contested Otago/ Southland Regional Final in Winton in April.
It was his fourth time competing in a regional final. The win means Logan will get a shot at the 50th Young Farmer of the Year title in Invercargill next month.
Winning awards does not stop there; 2018 is turning out to be a bumper year for the Wallace family.
They won the Beef + Lamb Livestock Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the supreme award for the Otago region at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Wanaka, also in April.
Contributing to the innovation award was a willingness to try different grass cultivars, the use of GPS mapping, a plan for whole-farm soil testing, and applying custom-formulated fertiliser on individual paddocks to match the soil tests.
Logan is aiming for a high legume percentage in pastures and started having beehives on the farm a year ago; the family are propagating their own native plants. Logan says the foundations of the environmental award go back 30 years, but the focus has been more intensive during the past 10 years.
“We’ve probably planted more than five or six kilometres of shelter trees. We’ve got one fencedoff wetland, another natural wetland that’s being fenced off and we have started fencing off our creeks and plan to plant them.”
The farm is at the headwaters of the Wairuna Stream which hosts a pleasingly healthy population of native Pomahaka galaxiid fish.
Stock comprises 2300 romney/texel ewes, 700 hoggets and 400 stock units of trading stock which vary seasonally between lambs and cattle depending on schedule prices.
The lambing rate is averaging 146%. This year lambs are trading stock, with stores being bought in. A seasonal average of $120 per lamb has been achieved in a difficult season.
Five years ago Texel genetics were introduced into the romney flock, sourced from nearby Waikaka Genetics, to improve growth rates and meat yield. The farm runs an ‘A’ mob and a ‘B’ mob as terminals.
“We have been using suffolk/texels and this year I’m trialling charolais as my terminals to get more hybrid vigour due to the fact that I’ve got texel in my breeding ewes.”
Although lamb prices are bringing a smile to farmers faces, wool continues to be an unfortunate story which Logan prefers not to talk about.
During the next five years he aims to achieve 160% lambing, with 20% off the ewe at 90 days and 18kg carcass weight, and to continue with development, started two years ago, of a 28ha hill block on which tussock will be retained for stock shelter.
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