Day 5

Today, we traveled around 30 minutes to a Hereford stud farm near Reporoa called Kairuru polled Herefords. This is a family owned farm by Kevin and Jane McDonald alongside with their son Jeff. This farm is approximately 450 acres that hold around 100 cows, 100 steers, and approximately 400 feeder lambs. This family had the top selling bull at the Fiordland beef expo in New Zealand.

Kairuru Polled Hereford Stud bulls.
Kevin and Jane breed their bulls for calving ease along with good size carcasses and sound structured feet because of the terrain they are on. They focus on calving ease because they are crossing beef bulls with dairy cattle and dairy farmers are adamant for having calving-ease bulls.  The New Zealand Hereford association requires the McDonald family to breed for the eye pigment which is a brown eyeliner appearance on the animal. This is required because there is a hole in the ozone layer over New Zealand which causes the UV rays to damage and cause eye cancer in the Herefords. They also breed for the iconic four white feet and tail in order to be a registered Hereford. 

Curiosity kills the calf; Hereford steers at the McDonald farm.

Jeff McDonald talking to us about the calf sale barn.
Along with the herd of cattle, they also partner in running a calf sale barn where, at 4 days old, they separate out the Hereford and dairy cattle. If they don’t go to this sale barn, they get put on the bobby calf truck where they are sent to be used as veal. This sale barn runs from the months of June through September, and approximately 1000 calves are run through every week. Last season, they had approximately 7000 calves sold averaging $150 each. After each sale, the barns are cleaned using a Bobcat and 150L of disinfectant gets sprayed by an irrigation pipe throughout the sale barn. 

 After seeing the beautiful view of their farm, we stopped at their house for some treats of scones and homemade bread with tea. We were so grateful for their hospitality and to be able to see their farm, along with being able to chat with Kevin, Jane, and Jeff about their operation.

Roaring Huka falls
The next stop after the Hereford farm was the Huka Falls in Taupo. Here we saw the beautiful sites of the turbulent waters which flow from Lake Taupo, which is the biggest lake in New Zealand. From here, we drove a couple of minutes into town and ate lunch at Dixie Brown’s right on the lake, where many of us enjoyed burgers or fresh fish. After lunch, many of us strolled around town to do some shopping, as well as take in the beautiful view of the lake. 

Group picture on the way to Taupo

The waves of the ocean on Hawke’s Bay.
From here, we traveled approximately two hours to the city of Napier, which is one of the two main cities of Hawke’s Bay. Much of Napier was destroyed in 1931, when an earthquake took place in the town. While here, many of us jumped off the bus and walked down to the ocean along the beach. While in Napier, a man by the name of Derek Barnes met with us and showed us around the many vineyards and orchards in the area, since this area is known as the “fruit basket” of the country. Throughout this region, they are prone to frost during the season, so they put up wind machines that draw warm air down in order to prevent frost on the plants. He also explained to us that one millimeter of water is equal to one degree of frost protection. We finally arrived at Heretaunga Plains, where we were shown Mr. Barnes’ fruit production farm where he grows apples, kiwi, peaches, plums, and feijoa. We all were extremely pleased when we were able to taste test both the feijoa fruit, along with the kiwis. Throughout our time here, Mr. Barnes gave us very important information about the bees and the fact that they are absolutely necessary in order for pollination to occur, and without pollination there would be no fruit. This last year, the Barnes family picked approximately 60 tons of kiwi, which is abnormally low due to a devastating hail storm earlier in the season. The normal crop of kiwi is approximately 85-90 tons per year.        

Kiwi plants at the Hereaunga Plains.
We are now stopped in Hastings, and checked into our motel for the night. We had another great day here in New Zealand, and are extremely excited for what tomorrow brings.  
Jayd & Ashley