By AMANDA BOWES
Hugh Northcote is keeping a family tradition alive, following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, great uncle, father and brother.
Hugh and his wife, Jane, are this year’s Amuri Show presidents. The couple, who farm at Whalesback on the Inland Road, are looking forward to having the whole community together on show day.
In 1989, they took over managing Whalesback, part of the family business, which is run in conjunction with Highfield, just out of Waiau.
Their two sons, George and Simon, are keen on farming. Both have been to Lincoln University and are now working on farms in the Hurunui District.
With the Whalesback homestead at 480 metres above sea level, and the highest part of the farm over 1000 metres, the property is home to red deer, half bred sheep and Hereford cattle. Deer were introduced in 2001 and the Northcotes run breeding hinds and sell weaners.
The couple have been involved with the Amuri Show for many years. Hugh was responsible for the wool section and then took over the sheep area.
He says the number of sheep shown has declined over the years, but the gift lamb class is still well supported, averaging 90 gift lambs a year. “There was once so many sheep at the show, we had to borrow hurdle gates from the Hawarden A&P Association. We had 400 pens full and needed more.”
Now, there are 200 pens. Half were dismantled this year to make more room for trade space.
The dairy community also pitches in with support for the show, with donations of weaned calves for the gift calf section.
This year, 52 calves were donated. They are valued by an agent from Rural Livestock Ltd and on-sold to two buyers who take them each year to grow out.
The on-farm beef competition is popular and Hugh says the show is well supported across the farming sectors.
The outbreak of Mycoplasma Bovis in dairy cows has meant this year’s on-farm dairy heifer and dairy cow competition has been cancelled, but will be reviewed for next year’s show.
The couple acknowledge the huge number of sponsors that support the show, along with the competitors, trade people, volunteers, stewards, marshalls and judges who bring the show to life.
“On show day, there is the satisfaction of seeing people enjoy themselves. We would love for people to stay for the community barbecue at the end of the day, when everyone can have a good catch up.”