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Equity partnership at Haddington flourishes

Rob and Coral Buddo started farming in Hawke’s Bay in the early 1990s and have seen their fair share of change in the industry over the years. The Buddo’s farming operation spans over five properties, totalling around 1,000 hectares. Their latest venture, Haddington, is an equity partnership with young farmer Chris Hursthouse, farming a 220-hectare coastal property, finishing a 50:50 split of lambs and bull-beef, including Wagyu. What’s exciting about this partnership is the opportunity for the next generation to get some skin in the game and take a big step towards farm ownership.

Chris started working for Rob as a Junior Sheperd over four years ago and grasped their farming model from the outset. Talented staff can be hard to keep, and Rob and Coral saw the equity partnership as a win-win situation that would ultimately enable them to retain and grow Chris within their business. Setting up an equity partnership isn’t easy, but what has made this partnership successful is that they’ve always had a plan and checked in on it regularly.

The goal for Haddington is incremental improvement. The entire farming system is relatively simple, with the complexities lurking in running the operation across five blocks. Investing in FarmIQ and FARMAX was a no-brainer as it enabled them to establish a plan, test, measure, and gather insights from their data to help make future tweaks to improve performance.

“We make sure a plan’s in place every year, we monitor against it, and then we review and refine what we’re doing from it to help keep everything moving in the right direction.”

- Rob Buddo, Kinburn Farm

Rob refers to FARMAX as their strategic plan. “We make sure a plan’s in place every year, we monitor against it, and then we review and refine what we’re doing from it to help keep everything moving in the right direction”, says Rob.

Droughts are a big challenge for many farmers, and it's something Haddington scenario tests for in FARMAX when looking at making changes to stocking rates or feed to get through the tough periods. From a day-to-day management perspective, Chris loves how the tool takes the stress out of the system and provides confidence when they’re looking at making farm management changes.

In terms of their day-to-day recording, Rob and Chris choose FarmIQ. For Haddington, getting everyone on the same page is simple, with everything being in one place in FarmIQ - it’s ultimately their ‘mothership’ for recording and reviewing data. Whether it be a stock movement or animal health treatment, Chris finds it easy to use the FarmIQ app on the go, “I’m using FarmIQ as I shift the stock through the gate and don’t have to worry about it when getting home”.

There is increasing pressure on farmers to record and share data. Rob believes that we must embrace the technology and trust the next generation coming through, who are all over it. Haddington supplies all of its lambs to Atkins Ranch, and neither Chris nor Rob get phased around audit time because all of the information is in one place and is easily retrievable with FarmIQ. 

The beauty of this story is in the coming together of two generations for the betterment of a New Zealand pastoral farming operation. Everyone will need a shoulder to lean on at some point in the journey ahead, but if you have the right tools and a plan, there are still opportunities for the taking.