Features

West Coast farmland tamed by Taege machines…

Brent Lilley heads to the West Coast to meet a couple who have transformed some wild land into lush pastures with the help of a team of Taege machines.

Travelling far and wide across the country for Farm Trader not only takes me to some stunning locations, but also gives me the opportunity to meet some great farming families.

On a recent trip, I headed to the wild West Coast of the South Island and into Haupiri, a stunning valley at the foot hills of the Southern Alps. There I caught up with Murray and Gaye Coates who have developed an impressive property in a somewhat challenging environment.

Back in 1998, the Coates bought 420 hectares of the family farm with only half of that land in grass. The couple were running sheep, beef and deer so there was plenty of scope for expansion. They began developing the flats alongside the Ahaura River which were covered in scrub and gorse and hiding some seriously stony country.

By 2008 they had made the decision to convert to dairy and since then there has been a major development programme of fencing and re-grassing which has seen the milking platform grow to over 330 hectares and the herd up to 800 cows this year.

Cultivator

As Murray was breaking in new ground he began looking for a cultivator as an economical way to work up his turf, but it had to be able to handle the tough conditions found in the Haupiri Valley. After trying several brands that couldn’t quite handle the pace, it was by chance that he stumbled across the Taege cultivator.

Convinced it was the machine for him, he didn’t muck around and was soon the proud owner of a Taege six-metre cultivator which was put to work immediately. It was simple and easy to set up, yet very effective. The heavy-duty galvanised box section frame is incredibly robust, the outer wings can be folded up to keep the transport width under three metres and uses a simple slotted hole system which allows the wings to float and follow the contours.

Post driver

Murray willingly admits it’s not an easy life for a post driver on his property. “I’ve destroyed a few in the past. At one point we used a rock breaker on a digger to spike the holes in front of the post driver just to get the posts into the tough river gravel.”

Taege5

For Murray it was a no brainer to consider a Taege post driver after his experience with the well-built and robust Taege cultivator. He wasn’t disappointed by what he found and settled for the Taege Contractor post driver.

Everything about the Taege Contractor is built tough. From the bottom up some seriously heavy-duty steel has been incorporated into the design.

Drill and tyre roller

The Coates’s saw a great opportunity to lease a 220 hectare property just down the road from the farm as a runoff to grow their replacement heifers and winter cows. However, the land was in less than ideal condition with most areas of grass overrun with rushes and weeds.

To make the opportunity work for them, they needed to find an economical and efficient way to get new grass and crops established. As you’ve probably guessed, they turned straight to Taege and this time it was a 3.6-metre twin box drill and matching tyre roller that was added to their growing collection of Taege machines.

Murray says his Taege drill and sprayer (not a Taege – they haven’t started building sprayers yet) are a dream team and are currently the two most important machines on the farm. On the run off he can simply spray out the paddocks and drill them with consistently impressive results.

The verdict

In my opinion, farmers tend to be an honest bunch and are usually more than happy to point out the merits and faults of any machine. Murray was quick to point out that regardless of what brand of machine you use, you always need good back up service, and the Taege team have always been there, whatever his request.

The results on the Coates property speak volumes and it was great to see it for myself. The Taege machines have had some fairly tough ground to contend with and have stood up to the challenge.

The seed drill in particular has provided a very effective, yet economical solution to developing a challenging property.

Read the full article in the latest issue (#221) of Farm Trader magazine. Subscribe here.

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