Hay days far from relaxing
21st Jan 09, 10:01am
This summer has been a bumper season for hay and baleage but it has not been without its stresses, reports The Nelson Mail. Making hay while the sun shines sounds good, but it also means fielding a lot of stressful phone calls. Ag Contractors owners Steve and Margaret Sangster's Appleby business is flat out with hay and baleage making. "All crops have been phenomenal. People book in for one paddock and you end up doing four paddocks because the grass has grown so well."Despite the frustrations, the Sangsters been working seven days a week putting out 300 to 500 round and square bales, and 2000 to 2500 small bales, on a good day."Feed stocks this year are overflowing, and in Nelson there will be a massive surplus." They've built up the business steadily since starting out on a part-time basis while Steve was working at the Stoke freezing works. He was the beef house slaughtermen's supervisor when he opted for voluntary redundancy and decided to go contracting fulltime. The family-run business also works with subcontractors for mowing and conventional baling, having to get bigger to cope with the increased crop volume. The Sangsters are optimistic about the future, as shown by their investment in a third tractor, due to arrive in May. They have plenty of ground work, particularly with market gardeners, for the winter - ripping, ploughing, rotary hoeing, power harrowing, drilling and rolling. "We haven't seen a downturn. What we have found is that people have gone back to the land, so there is a bit more optimism in growing product on the land," says Margaret. "I wonder if people are starting to realise that NZ's forte is growing on the land. To a certain extent, overseas markets are looking for NZ produce not so much because it is clean and green but because it is reliable and consistent."