Manager sold on Cape’s beauty

Manager sold on Cape’s beauty

Still working in shorts and ‘T’ shirts in the middle of autumn – Landcorp’s (Pamu) Cape Foulwind Dairy Support manager Tracy GageBrown is a strong advocate for the Coast’s beauty – and its weather.
She would like to encourage others to consider an agricultural career in the area – an area she says that can be notoriously difficult to attract people to, yet holds so many benefits.
Crossing the Cook Strait to take the role, Tracy is into her second season on the farm, 10 minutes from Westport on the South Island’s West Coast.
“Having the opportunity to work in this area and do a lot of bush walking was very appealing to my husband and me. It’s just such a beautiful place. I recall coming down for the job interview and it was so stunning. It really wasn’t a hard decision for me to make.”
She says that while the wind can certainly live up to its ‘foul’ reputation, there is typically a moderate temperature all year round – never cold, not even in the rain. Located 10 minutes from Westport on Cape Foulwind, the farm is part of Landcorp’s Buller complex.
Providing support for Bassett, Totara and Tram Dairy Units, the farm takes around 750 calves each year, rearing them through to in-calf R2’s. Tracy says that while 800 cows are normally wintered on the farm each year, that number will drop to 600 this coming season.
She says some of the dairy units are trialing retaining some cows on farm and herd numbers have also been reduced due to Buller’s drought conditions earlier this year.
The farm also finishes approximately 750 R1 and R2 friesian bulls and about 500 angus beef steers.
Totaling 700 hectares, the farm is actually comprised of three separate blocks, with a 40 minute drive between the first to the last block which is on the way out to Greymouth.
“Two of my blocks end up at the sea and the other one is about 2 minutes away from the beach. The soil here is predominantly sand with a rockhard pan underneath it. We’re pretty much built on sand dunes here so the soil is more sand than anything else. The topsoil is very very scarce so if we go dry in the summer the soil doesn’t retain the moisture and it dries out very fast. It can be very challenging to farm on.”
Born and raised on a farm, Tracy has spent the majority of her working life on farms, developing a reputation as a skilled specialist in cattle finishing and rearing dairy heifers.
Cape Foulwind is the third Landcorp property that Tracy has held senior management positions on.
“I was the beef and dairy heifer manager on Rangitaiki Station in Taupo for seven years. That’s a large-scale sheep, beef and deer operation. After that I worked in Rotamahana, which is Landcorp’s Angus stud.
I worked there for 6 months as a stock manager before being encouraged to apply for this job.” Tracy encourages more women to consider farming as a career.
“Young women can be hesitant about farming but I have found their attention to detail, learning capability and getting the job done has been above and beyond.”

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