Our Farming Philosophy

‘Newhaven Farms’ lies along the Kakanui Range in the North Otago district, 40 kms west of Oamaru and consists of an 1100 hectare hill block and the 230 hectare original Newhaven base farm – of which 10% of flat cultivated land, 20% rolling to very steep foothills and 70% is steep tussock country. Newhaven’s altitude ranges between 400-600 metres above sea level .

We are proud of our intergenerational commitment to sustainable farming. In 2012, Newhaven Farms was awarded both the Otago supreme ‘Ballance Farm Environment Awards’ and the New Zealand ‘Ballance Farm Environment’ National title and the Gordon Stevenson Trophy. Newhaven Farms is a founding and active member of ‘NOSLaM’ – the North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group.

Balance Farm Environment Awards

We take pride in our surroundings and have followed the Ruddenklau family ethos of tree planting for shelter and aesthetics, with over 150,000 trees planted on both properties and a commitment to continue this with large native shelter developments annually. A ‘minimum tillage’ regime has been adopted for well over 20 years, with the majority of regrassing carried out by ‘direct drilling’. Areas of tussock and native vegetation are left around every developed paddock on the hill block to ensure that water and soil conservation are maintained to the highest level (this also adds to the ascetic attraction and important animal shelter at all times of the year). Native areas of manuka, snow tussock and broadleafs, pittasporum, mountain daisy, mountain flax, lancewoods, remain untouched, with a fencing off programme in place to ensure that stock do not have access to these valuable areas.

This was originally driven in the 1970s and 1980s during these decades of harsh droughts and wind erosion – and has now grown to a passion for all of the Smith family, with Charlotte, Henry and George all spending many of their school holidays and weekends planting trees alongside Jane and Blair.

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We run 9,000 stock units at Newhaven, including our stud Perendale flock, commercial Perendale ewes, our ewe and ram hoggets and the Fossil Creek Angus beef stud – comprising 300 Stud Angus cows and replacement stud heifers.

Fossil Creek Angus

Ewes are well framed and kept at an efficient weight of 70-75 kg liveweight. We prelamb shear in mid July and lamb in late September. Weaning is ideally at the start of January, however we have had to wean as early as the start of December when dry conditions hit. While this is not ideal, it is an example of the challenges that our environment brings and the trials that our stud lambs have to face, even under a nil-drench regime.

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