The Massie family farms in partnership as Massie Agribusiness in the Tararua district.
Logan Massie has been stock manager for his parents, Grant and Brenda, for the past three years. Logan works with shepherd Strat Boyden and sister Brianna. Another sister, Georgia, has been working overseas. Grant is in charge of development and cropping.
The overall farming business covers 1100ha. Bonnie Glen, which is 500ha, is in the farming district of Whetakura, 22km from Dannevirke, while the other farm is a 600ha cluster of properties about 8km from town.
“They are centred around Raumati, where Logan is based and where I was brought up. It has been in the family since 1908,” Grant says.
“Bonnie Glen was added in 1977 and we’ve added little bits around both of them as they’ve come available.”
The farming policy involves sheep and cattle, but predominantly Highlander sheep since 1996. The business has 3000 Highlander breeding ewes lambing at 150%. About 3000 home-bred ewe lambs (plus 2500 bought ewe lambs) are mated to Highlander rams with about 4500 two-tooths sold on annual contracts to regular clients.
The cattle side of the business can vary, Grant says.
“At the moment we’re buying in 300 weaner bulls and selling in autumn about 15 months later; selling to bull farmers as R2s. We also have been buying 100 Wagyu steers a year. We had three age groups on the ground for the first time in 2019, which means this is our second year of processing at 30 months.
Grant says to begin with, they weren’t achieving the marbling results they wanted. “But then we’ve been bull farmers in the past and not looking at this from the right angle. We do grow exceptional animals, at about 300kg carcass weight, but in the past, we got rid of them as soon as they got to a certain weight. This is a different discipline. Quality as much as quantity.”
The animals are curious and, although they sometimes become stubborn when going through gates, Grant says they’re quiet and easy to handle.
The Massies joined the First Light family when they took over a lease block that wasn’t allowed to carry bulls. They were also attracted by the premiums and the fact it was something different, Grant says.
They’re a horsey family and former Young Rider of the Year, Logan, is a regular rider on the New Zealand show jumping circuit. The farming timetable fits in well with the horses, which are produced, trained and sold from the farm.