Farmer Profiles

Alliance Group’s purpose is to create value for our farmers by producing the world’s best quality red meat, and we have a team of over 5,000 employees dedicated to realising this goal each day.

Every dollar Alliance Group earns is either re-invested back in the business or returned to our farmers so we can deliver greater returns to our farmer shareholders in the future.

We welcome new suppliers – any New Zealand farmer who wants to be part of the world’s best red meat co-operative.

Here’s what some of our farmers have to say about being a part of Alliance Group:

 

Gaylene & Wilson Ronald

Southland farmers Gaylene and Wilson Ronald supply 100% of their livestock to Alliance Group, and have done for 15 years – as long as they’ve been farming.

As a co-operative, Alliance Group relies on the support and commitment of suppliers like the Ronalds to deliver our market promise – their lamb yield percentages have seen them in our top three suppliers over the past two seasons.

The couple farm over 87ha of rolling country at Fairfax, where they run 1000 Texel/Coopworth ewes and 250 replacement hoggets, and finish the resulting 1700-1750 lambs produced annually. This translates to a tailing percentage of 161% for the ewes, and 95% for the hoggets. Total meat and wool production from the farm is 500 kg of product per effective hectare – twice the average of class 6 land in the region.

Alliance Group General Manager Livestock Murray Behrent says the Ronalds’ commitment to their work plays a key role in their success: ‘Not only are they committed to sheep farming and providing Alliance Group with stock which meet our specifications at regular periods during the season, they also have an ownership stake in the company and are interested in what happens after their stock leave the farm.”

"Their stock are Farm Assured which helps us to meet market requirements, they are easy to do business with, and have a good working relationship with their livestock representative.”

Wilson and Gaylene feed their stock well, engage other local farmers to share knowledge and improve their operation, and have developed management policies that reflect the reality that their farm is a part-time income. “We run a simple operation, because we are off-farm so much,” Wilson says.

The couple also enjoy the convenience that working with Alliance Group provides: “We appreciate the quarter-up-front payment in November, and we also like that the lambs are processed locally.”

The Ronalds’ success story continues, as they look towards more top results and better ways of doing business. We’re proud to have them as part of our business, and pleased to continue to support their achievements.

 

Young Guns - Nathan and Marilyn Parris

Tuatapere farmers Nathan and Marilyn Parris are part of a group of young Southland farmers keen to increase the kilograms of lamb meat supplied to Alliance Group.

Shona Frengley, Livestock Technical Officer with Alliance, is helping the group pursue this goal. She explains: “It’s about identifying critical drivers, finding the right information, and making small changes to day-to-day management.”

Nathan said his goal was to increase lamb production by 100kg/ha within the next three years - by fine-tuning their system – but he’ll be happy if they increase it by 50kg/ha.

Working closely with a high performing neighbouring farmer and a farm advisor, the couple set up lamb finishing paddocks by using ewes carrying single lambs to hard graze the areas post-lambing. This allowed clover to flourish, and the resulting higher pasture quality has improved post-weaning lamb growth rates.

Nathan and Marilyn changed how they supplement cobalt. Opti-grow tests of slaughtered lambs identified cobalt deficiency, and in the past a long-acting cobalt was injected costing $1.12/lamb. Despite this, the lambs were still deficient based on Opti-grow analysis at slaughter. This year cobalt was sprayed onto pastures ahead of the lambs. This was cheaper than injecting, and all stock on the farm benefit from cobalt supplementation, not just lambs. Recent Opti-grow results show this has worked well.

Midway through their first season in the project, Nathan and Marilyn have supplied nearly five times as many lambs as they had at the same time last season. Heading into mating they have plenty of feed ahead of them, heavier ewes and more ewes to mate than last year.

Before the programme most group members did little monitoring or benchmarking production – but this is changing. Measuring kilograms of lamb meat produced through the season and benchmarked against a wider group of farmers is now a key measure for the group.

The five farming businesses involved in the project are all working on individual projects, and all – as well as Alliance as a whole – are looking to their future with hope for some fantastic results. 

 

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