Lorne Peak Station - achieving sustainable profitability in challenging Southland hill country


  • M. Tayler
  • L. Donnelly
  • P. Frater
  • N. Stocker


Lorne Peak Station, near Garston in Northern Southland is a 5650 ha station, which until recently, has been run as an extensive store sheep and beef property. Major constraints for this hill country property, like many others in the region, are long winters with occasional snowfall, low pasture growth rates, dry summers, unpredictable autumns and limited cash flow to develop and improve the land. The intensification of New Zealand's hill country farms is a critical aspect in ensuring financial viability. Since 2009, Lorne Peak has undergone a rigorous intensification program, initially aided by income produced from wintering dairy cows on the property. With careful selection of crops and pastures, farm profitability has increased, through selection of different stock breeds/classes and high utilisation of feed supply over the year. FARMAX® modelling software has been used retrospectively to analyse these changes, and compare it with the current scenario. The analysis clearly shows that the use of lucerne for grazing, fodder beet for beef production, subdivision and increasing soil fertility have been real game changers for Lorne Peak. A 292% increase in farm profit before tax is testament to this achievement. However, an increase of 26% for total farm working expenses, highlights the need for investment to be planned to build resilience into the farming operation. Keywords: hill country, intensification, dryland, lucerne, fodder beet, sheep, beef, FARMAX®, profitability






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