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Farming Fast Five: Mat Bailey

Farming Fast Five: Mat Bailey

The Farming Fast Five: When we ask a farmer five quick questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them. Today we talk to farmer and North Canterbury Hunting Competition organiser Mat Bailey.

  1. What did your journey into farming look like?

I grew up in Wairoa on the east coast of the North Island as a town boy.

I  left high school and went farming for the Baynes family up towards Lake Waikaremoana, Colin and Marg where a great inspiration, they set me up with fundamentals of hard work and honesty - shearing all their own sheep, fencing, scrub cutting and the like. It was good hard yacka. I moved south completed a Diploma in Farm management at Lincoln University. I then worked at Mt Montrose for Dave and Jo Mckenzie, then to Cranford Downs for Ben and Renee Dampier- Crossley where I’ve been managing for the last ten years.

2. Tell us a little bit about your farming operation?

Cranford Downs is situated in Rotherham is roughly 1000ha, with 500ha of irrigation under pivots and 500ha of downs, with 2500 ewes and 250 angus cows as well as 600 dairy heifers, and grow a variety of dairy winter crop.

3.     What challenges have you faced in your farming business, and how have you tackled those challenges?

We are very fortunate to have this amount of irrigation in dry north Canterbury, but comes with a huge cost, we have slowly progressed away from sheep and beef finishing and now focus on dairy support and growing feed to keep up with these rising costs.

4.What has been a major highlight for you in your farming journey?

I can't think of a major highlight, just several smaller ones.

One has been starting a new business Bailey Scanning limited we do cow pregnancy scanning around the country. My wife Kiley runs the scanning business whilst juggling our three girls Zoe, Paige and Fern.

I have enjoyed  helping drive the  Amuri Squash Clubs’ major renovations recently.

I also started the countrys biggest hunting competition, The North Canterbury Hunting Competition last year, putting Rotherham on the map.

It’s great being part of the awesome Amuri basin community.

5. What advice would you have for the next generation of farmers?

If you want to be the best, surround yourself with the best people in the game.  You can’t soar like an eagle surrounded by turkeys.