What the best farmers do to manage their stock

What you can learn from NZ’s highest-performing sheep and beef farmers.

Words: Nadene Hall

When 22 of NZ’s best farmers shared the secrets of their success, researchers found they had three critical factors in common.


Most high-performing farmers do what they’ve already been focusing on successfully for many years.

They’re particularly good at translating what’s important to them and what they enjoy doing into a profitable, environmentally sustainable ‘style of farming’ that best suits them and their land.

While they embrace change, they don’t blindly follow new practices, instead tweaking and testing options to see what works for them.


They all pay close attention to their stock’s condition – physically touching animals to check them – and pasture growth, regularly moving stock to ensure they’re well-fed.

One farmer says he prefers to use a 2-wheel farm bike, not an ATV or UTV, just because it makes him look at the grass more intensely.


This came down to having 3-5 key goals, then measuring and recording performance over time.

Other practices many of them shared included:

■ making early decisions to pre-empt the loss of stock and pasture condition;

■ investing in quality infrastructure (over time), such as fencing, water, yards etc;

■ working with other well-regarded farmers and professionals.

More stories you might like:
The catch with predator control

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
Send this to a friend