Hawkes Bay rookies

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2 years 2 months ago #551747 by Hertz Donut
Greetings all, short time reader, first time poster.

Matt (and family) here, eight months into our adventure and so far loving almost every minute of it. We have a bit over 8Ha in a very handy position not far from town, complete with ramshackle old house and copious garages/sheds/random buildings. Our position means we didn't even notice the drought but it remains to be seen how the land will cope with excessive rain. On weekdays I try my hardest not to ragequit my IT drone job working for a faceless corporation but hopefully in a few years we'll have enough income from the land that I can flip my desk, send that fiery email in my drafts folder and stride out the door, never to return.

At the moment we're working through investing in infrastructure, such as installing/upgrading fencing and gates, planting/relocating trees, controlling drainage and so on, while trying to learn what we can from those around us and the very helpful folks at the local Farmlands. My family has a long farming background in the Wairarapa and Whanganui areas but my father opted out so I'm basically starting from scratch again.

No livestock of our own on site yet but the neighbour is grazing part of it while the rest was recently in maize, which required no irrigation at all over Summer. We're planning to remain as spray-free as possible, preferably organic. Birds love the area (and sadly the garages), rodents are medium-plentiful, and funds are something we used to have.

I promise to ask a lot while offering little in return, and type long posts that ramble perilously close to the realms of nonsense. Please tolerate me.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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2 years 2 months ago #551748 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Welcome Matt, do please add your location to your profile so it's easy to see when you post questions. :)

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2 years 2 months ago #551749 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Hi Matt. In the Nelson and Tasman districts, so I would think in Hawkes Bay too, lots of the land has DDT residues in it. If the level is too high then it is not advisable to graze animals on it. Have you had the soil checked?

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2 years 2 months ago #551763 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Ruth: Done, I think.

LongRidge: Yep we've had the soil tested, it's clean as a whistle and apparently in excellent condition. The previous owner was an engineer so there's offcuts of metal all over the place around the workshop but the paddocks are practically untouched. He had Clydesdales on it and it seems was quite sympathetic to the land. If only he'd left a map of where all the hoses were, sadly he died nearly 2 years ago so everything is a bit of a mystery. All part of the fun though.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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2 years 1 month ago #551801 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Heavy winds and a bit of rain overnight so a couple of the recently relocated trees have partially fallen over, one's a totara about 4m tall and the other an olive about 5m tall. At least none of the 7-8m ones went over. Guess that's my lunchtime exercise sorted then.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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2 years 1 month ago #551802 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Update: ...make that 4 trees, plus some more starting to lean.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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2 years 1 month ago #551819 by Anakei
Replied by Anakei on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
What are you doing for water? I understand Hawkes Bay has dry summers as a matter of course, and tips over into drought very easily.

Urban mini farmer and guerilla gardener

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2 years 1 month ago #551820 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Hawkes Bay rookies

Hertz Donut wrote: Heavy winds and a bit of rain overnight so a couple of the recently relocated trees have partially fallen over, one's a totara about 4m tall and the other an olive about 5m tall. At least none of the 7-8m ones went over. Guess that's my lunchtime exercise sorted then.

My experience of relocating NZ natives is not good. Despite all the TLC given at time and follow-up, the majority die, leading me to believe NZ Natives do not like to be moved; they sulk and die!, so, good luck with that one. Our 2m high totaras looked good to start off with, then one by one they died and these were professionally planted and staked and we watered them all summer, only to see them die off one after the other. I think the last one of 16, still has a little life, but is also dying.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ronney

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2 years 1 month ago #551821 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Totaras are very particular about where they will grow, as are NZ beech. If there are beech growing then totaras will not grow, and vice versa. Here, totaras are a weed and come up everywhere. Animals do not like to eat them. Thus if I were planting totaras I would look at which trees grow on the neighbours properties, and plant natives that are similar to the neighbours.

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2 years 1 month ago - 2 years 1 month ago #551823 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies

Anakei wrote: What are you doing for water? I understand Hawkes Bay has dry summers as a matter of course, and tips over into drought very easily.


We had no issues at all with water over Summer, to the point where we had to have the one rear paddock we owned at the time (about 1Ha) mowed for hay twice, with the first time producing 35 large round bales. That paddock stayed green, and the paddocks we've just bought were in maize over Summer and didn't need any irrigation. The front paddocks and lawns browned off a bit but were still greener than we would have expected in a drought. We're located on the shoreline of an ancient lake that has dried out, with the house and front paddocks "on land" and the rear paddocks "under water", so any water runs down to the paddocks that need it most over dry periods.

Winter/early spring will be a different kettle of fish. I haven't seen any ponding after the rain over the past few days but I know at least one of them ponds after heavy downpours (e.g 70mm in 24 hours). We'll get drainage sorted once we've got to know the paddocks a bit better. We have a high water table, which will impact what we can grow.

As for the totara, they were actually relocated from the neighbour's land a couple of paddocks from their current location, so they're as close to home as they can get. It only cost an extra day with a digger to move them all so while it would be depressing to have them all die off at least it wouldn't be a huge financial loss.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
Last edit: 2 years 1 month ago by Hertz Donut.

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2 years 1 week ago #552264 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
One month later and we're now grazing a total of 35 organic lawnmowers. I've run out some lines for troughs, fixed some leaks in the lines, made some more leaks in the lines, fixed some of them...

We've discovered we have two active bore heads on the property, both old but with positive heads so just opening the tape means we have water. We've spoken to the council about reinstating a bore consent but the area is oversubscribed and the HBRC are looking at scaling back total draw so we were told straight up that the going in position would be to decline our application. I have the paperwork required and it's brutal reading, there's a queue ahead of us for consents, and the likely costs involved in just getting the consent run into 5 figures, which we really can't spare right now.

There's a new proposed plan (TANK) that will allow us to draw 5,000l/day without a consent, which we could store in tanks, and there's no known limit to the number of tanks we can install, so we still have options there.

Fortunately the house and troughs are currently on town supply, we're working through where all the irrigation might be but since it's mostly buried it's a bit of a lottery.

We're leasing out 6Ha this coming cropping season so there's some income there, which will go towards more fencing. As I mentioned before, we went though last Summer's drought without requiring irrigation as we get the run-off from some hills across the road, so the lack of a formal supply shouldn't be a problem (touch wood).

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
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1 year 10 months ago #552847 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
Three more additions to the to-do list:
1. Put shelter back where it came from.
2. Fix the fence.
3. ANCHOR THE SHELTER if high winds are expected.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
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1 year 1 week ago #555507 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
I suppose I should update this for posterity's sake.

Since my last update I've spent a whole lot of time and money on infrastructure. It's been hard yakka with no end in sight yet but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Stuff I've done:

- Put a whole lot of piping underground.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
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1 year 1 week ago #555508 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
- Turned an old shed into a tractor/implement shed:



- Revived some old concrete troughs and put them out in the paddocks:


- Cleaned up along the creek and very much appreciated having headlights:

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
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1 year 1 week ago #555509 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hawkes Bay rookies
- ...and turned a previously-pristine famliy wagon into Farmtruck, which hauls everything dirty and smelly, and is also being used to teach our son to drive, hence the dings and scratches:



For those wondering, 8 hay bales (7 in the back, 1 in the front passenger seat) or a minimum of 25 2.1m fencing posts

I also spent some time adding some creature comforts to the workshop building, and starring in a kids' TV show:


Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
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