FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalist: Patrick Crawshaw

Posted by on 30 May 2018 | Comments

Patrick Crawshaw works for a Hawke’s Bay agribusiness fully utilising crops and the latest pasture species to fatten lambs.

This season the operation, which is owned by Hawke’s Bay Federated Farmers president Will Foley, is growing fodder beet as a sheep feed.

Fifteen hectares of the crop has been planted across two properties.

“We run a diverse system, which is why I wanted to work here,” said Patrick, who was named the East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year in February.

“We dabble in different pasture species to suit different production systems and environments, and crops such as rape and kale to help boost performance and take advantage of market opportunities.”

The business finishes between 30,000-35,000 lambs a year, “ideally getting them to a carcass weight of 22 kilograms.”

It puts approximately 1,500 head of cattle through the meat works.

The business also has a breeding property running 3,000 ewes, a small mob of beef cows and 250 Friesian bulls.

The farms are run by a team of six. Patrick joined the company in July 2017 after a two-year stint at the Pukemiro Station Cadet Farm in Dannevirke, starting as a junior shepherd and leaving as a block manager.

The 24-year-old describes his latest career move as “a bit of a lateral step” on the progression ladder, but it’s a move he doesn’t regret.

“I’d encourage people not to dwell on job titles when considering career opportunities, rather the growth and learning capacity it has,” he said.

“This job has helped to broaden my skill set. It’s given me huge exposure to livestock finishing, agronomy and a trading nature entity.”

“There’s a lot of value in taking a lateral step to progress your career,” said Patrick, who has a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) from Lincoln University.

The business’ finishing platforms have more than 600 hectares of “country you can get a tractor over”.

The Dannevirke Young Farmers member grew up on Kenhardt Angus stud south of Gisborne.

In 2015, his family purchased a 680-hectare (effective) hill country property at Lake Waikaremoana.

The property is managed by Ritchie Price and runs 2,700 breeding ewes, trading cattle and 200 Angus breeding cows.

As part of succession planning, a governance structure has been set up which involves Patrick and his two siblings shaping the direction of the property.

Patrick visits the farm every six weeks to meet with the manager, to measure pasture covers, assess livestock performance and collate budgets.

“I’m the liaison between the farm and the governance board,” he said.

“It takes a fair bit of time, but it’s something I’m really enjoying and getting a lot of value from.”

Since winning the East Coast Regional Final, Patrick’s had to find extra hours in his week to prepare for grand final in Invercargill.

“One of the rooms in our house currently has a table covered with resources dedicated to grand final preparation.”

“Plenty of reading is the best way to describe it,” he laughed. “I’m just trying to work through it methodically.”