Two PGG Wrightson Real Estate salespeople are living their own lifestyle dreams with some interesting and unusual choices in livestock.
Nick Rattanong sells lifestyle and residential property with PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Rangiora. Outside of work on 20 hectares in Sefton, North Canterbury Nick has developed a hobby that has become a passion, breeding pedigree White Galloways.
A docile and extremely cute breed of cow, White Galloways are ideal for a lifestyle block, as Nick explains.
“Because of their looks they are sometimes described as the panda version of a cow. They are naturally polled, have a quiet nature, and are smaller than breeds like Hereford and Angus, making them easier to manage, with less wear and tear on paddocks. Their double coat means they don’t use all their energy and fat reserves over winter staying warm, enabling a high-quality marbled meat.
“Attracted by their amazing look, I bought my first White Galloways four years ago, and now have a herd of 65. I use four different breeding bulls and have sourced cows from Balclutha to Northland, for a diverse line of genetics to promote the longevity of what is classified as a rare breed.
“On a standard lifestyle block you could comfortably keep half a dozen White Galloways. They are a robust, hardy breed, which even on rough hill country or during a drought can still raise a good calf and premium beef,” he says.
Nick is current vice president of the Galloway Society of New Zealand, his stud Mountain View Galloways has Facebook followers worldwide, and he sells weaner calves at around six months. The breed’s ease of calving and dominance for well-marked crossbreed calves give his surplus bulls appeal for heifer mating on dairy farms. He also plans to show them in the future.
Paul Knudsen’s background is different to Nick: based at PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Matamata, he has recently come into real estate via a career owning and working in rural Waikato agricultural businesses.
For the last 12 years Paul has operated a large scale duck farm, producing 5500 meat birds per week on his Matamata property.
“Dating back to the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in China, the Pekin duck is the most popular global breed for duck consumption and the basis of the New Zealand duck sector. Ducks are a specialised livestock, though a viable option on a larger lifestyle block, likely to suit an individual or couple downsizing from a more conventional farm, which is how I did it.
“You need approximately one hectare for the ducks, preferably secluded from the neighbours, though you need around 15 hectares of grazing pasture on which to use the effluent from a duck unit for irrigation.
“Producing ducks creates an income and provides an interest. My ducks are enough work for one person full time and one part time. For a couple looking to do this, if they structured it right one partner could work off the property,” says Paul.
While setting up a new duck unit is reasonably straightforward, it is a niche sector that requires a couple of years’ lead time to establish. Processing and marketing duck products, along with the hatchery that supplies the ducklings and the pre-fabricated sheds used on duck farms, all fall under the management of Cambridge-based Quack A Duck, which is located within 75 kilometres of all the New Zealand duck farms the company services.
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