Episode 28: West Otago Winter
On the next episode, screening 10th October 2015 at 7pm on TV ONE:
“West Otago Winter”
Managing a high country station is a dream come true for Peter and Sarah Adam. They run Wilden Station, north of Tapanui in West Otago.
The couple moved to the farm fifteen years ago, after Sarah’s uncle bought the station. Waikato based John Maisey was looking to add a large farm to the Forlong and Maisey group of companies, and when he found Wilden he was hooked. He asked Peter and Sarah if they’d consider managing it.
“It’s a great opportunity we’ve been given” says Peter “there’s no way we could afford to own a station of 1700 hectares, so we relish it, and treat it as our own.”
The station is split into two: The home block surrounding the homestead of 570 hectares, and the larger run block of 1200 hectares, 14 kilometres away.
The medium hill country of the run block has some steep gullies, so Peter and his right-hand man, Peter Standish do much of the mustering work on horseback. They also have the help of new shepherd, Aaron Elliot.
With the station divided into two blocks, bringing a mob of 3,000 ewes home for shearing means droving them down some 14 kilometres of gravel road. It’s a trip of several hours, but Peter Standish says it helps that the sheep have made the trip before.
“They know where they’re going. Sometimes the younger ones can go down roads they’re not supposed to, but the older girls know the way there – and back out again.”
At Wilden, they shear twice a year. And Peter Adam says keeping the sheep’s wool shorter works well, even in mid-winter.
“We’ve been shearing six-monthly for the last five years. As a result we get far fewer cast sheep and less twigs and branches stuck in the wool.”
They’ve also increased their wool clip by half a kilo per sheep per year.
But with snow a frequent visitor to the Otago hills, the shearers use a winter cover comb to leave a short amount of wool on the sheep.
“It’s like leaving your woolly singlet on” explains Peter Adam.
The couple has brought up their two sons at Wilden; Thomas, who’s 17 and Campbell, 15. “It’s a great place” says Sarah. “We know all our neighbours really well; I think we’re incredibly lucky to have such a fabulous community.
Saturday afternoon rugby matches, school trips and the local theatre society all provide ways for local farming families to get together.
Having moved from outside the district fifteen years ago, Peter and Sarah are now very much at home. “We’re nearly locals” he laughs. “Another five years I’d say, we’ll be local.”
For more about Wilden Staiton visit: http://www.wildenstation.co.nz/
For more about Tapanui visit: http://www.tapanuiwestotago.net/westotago/Home.aspx
For more about John Maisey’s companies visit: http://www.forlongmaisey.co.nz/
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator
Post Production Manager
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Ó TVNZ 2015