Rangiatea is owned by an incorporation representing the local Maori people and is managed by Mike Devlin. Mike says the owners place a lot of emphasis on being sustainable. With 600ha in renewable forest and more than 2000ha in regenerating native forest, and ongoing fencing off of waterways, there is a large focus on environmental sustainability but the property has to be financially sustainable as well, says Mike. “We’re protecting the land but we have to get an income out of it as well.”
Rangiatea is running 18,000 stock units on its 1500 effective hectares, including 1000 hinds. They breed their own replacement stock and finish about 700 young deer a year. Mike says the intention is to increase deer numbers over the coming years – the property could easily handle up to 2500 hinds with all progeny finished on the farm, he says.
“The high country suits the hinds. The farm is 20km long, running from the bluffs above the lake at 335m above sea level to 975m in the hills. It’s almost like two properties – the high country is ideal for breeding and we can finish on the better country near the lake.” Colin says they have been taking advantage of funding available through the local regional council to fence off more bush areas and increase the area behind deer fences.
Mike says Firstlight philosophy is an ideal fit with the long-term focus of Rangiatea’s owners. The certainty of long-term pricing makes budgeting much easier, he says. “At the beginning of the year we can budget based on the returns we know we are going to receive throughout the year instead of guessing what we are going to get. Because we know the prices we can concentrate on achieving the weights."
"It’s also exciting to be part of the company as owners. The destiny of the company is up to us.”