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Profile: Mabey Contracting

Mabey Contracting has been recognised by RCNZ for its commitment to supporting young trainees

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Andrew and Catherine Mabey have run Mabey Contracting for the last 25 years. The family-owned-and-operated business has roots going back to 1974 when Andrew’s father Ron started haymaking.

Based near Pahiatua at the foot of the Tararua ranges, Mabey Contracting provides a full range of silage and hay services to clients throughout the Tararua, Wairarapa, and Manawatu regions.

The company offers a range of contracting services, including hay, silage, baleage, maize silage, cartage, direct drilling, and fertiliser spreading and added cultivation to its operation a few years ago.

Catherine and Andrew run a 140-hectare, 320 cow dairy farm, which includes the lease of 30 hectares from their neighbour. The dairy farm is overseen by a contract milker. The 90-hectare runoff does the young stock and maize, and grass silage is also grown, which is then sold to clients

Catherine was born and bred on a sheep and cropping farm in North Otago, while Andrew was raised on a dairy farm near Pahiatua and learned a trade as a cabinet maker. The couple have three children, Sam, William, and Naomi.

Supporting trainees

Mabey Contracting was recognised at the recent RCNZ conference for the support it shows to young trainees. Rural Contractor Trainee of the Year Jessica Bills is part of Mabey Contracting team.

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Catherine Mabey, Jessica Bills, and Andrew Mabey at the recent RCNZ Conference where Jessica was awarded Rural Contractor Trainee of the Year

“Jess started for us this season and she has been really diligent and dedicated to showing all the work she has done,” Catherine says.

“She’d come off a farm, so she was a bit of a natural; she had a really good aptitude towards operating machinery. “She picked up some of the more complex machinery pretty quickly, like the larger rakes, which would normally take a season or two to learn. She adapted well and is a great member of our team.”

Catherine says because Jess left a good job with an accounting firm to come and work for Mabey Contracting, it was important for the company to throw their support behind her.

“At the time, some people were wondering if it was a sensible decision for Jess to change careers,” she says.

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Mabey Contracting caters for a diverse range of clients, including conventional sized bales

“But there are a lot of opportunities in this industry and a lot of career options and pathways for young people. If you’re keen to get involved and work hard, you can go a long way. Having young people in your business is beneficial. They adapt well to the new technology that’s coming through, and they bring enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

“They also get great enjoyment out of driving the machinery. I mean, you’ve got to quite like tractors if that’s your job. Having young people around is also great for morale — they’re always quite entertaining and sociable, as well as working hard.

“We were stoked for Jess to be recognised; she put a lot of work into it. She would sit down and make sure all her paperwork was up to speed after working some pretty long hours. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to us that she got that achievement.”

Rural Contractors New Zealand

Catherine says being a part of Rural Contractors New Zealand has been a real benefit to the business.

“I think that they advocate strongly for the contracting industry. They worked hard during COVID to help with staff shortages and things like that.

“There’s quite a culture of people coming from overseas, like guys that do a harvest season in the UK and then come over here for the winter.

“So, when the borders shut, that got fairly heavily restricted, and RCNZ did a lot of work, helping make sure that businesses still kept going,” she says. “And they’re good at advocating for rural contracting with Government and they provide good resources for us as a business.”

Gear

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The self-propelled mower is part of a large collection of Krone gear

Mabey Contracting has built a large collection of Krone gear over the years, including Swaddro two rotor rakes, bar mowers, tedders, Comprima and Fortima balers, Comprima Combie balers, four rotor rake, a Big M420 and
a new Big X 780.

“The biggest purchase we’ve had recently was a Krone Big X harvester, which we bought during COVID. My husband also bought a new Hino truck,” says Catherine.

“We’ve had a good relationship with Tulloch Farm Machinery, and we’ve got quite a bit of gear. We just get good service from them.”

The company also has seven Case IH tractors — a Puma 230, a Puma 220, two Puma 165s, two Maxxum 125s, and a Maxxum 115, along with a Fendt 724.

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The Webbline tube wrapper makes fast work of securing round bales

It also has a JCB 435 S, a JCB 536 60 telehandler, Webbline tube wrapper, a Kuhn SW 4004 bale wrapper, a Case LB334R square baler, and a Case SB541 conventional baler.   

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