Hansen Family, Waerenga, Te Kauwhata
Hukaroa Hereford Stud was started in 1968 at Ardmore by Peter and Glennis Hansen with the late Vic and Teena Hansen and was relocated in 1992 to a 520ha (500ha effective) hill farm at Waerenga and since then the Hukaroa Stud has been farmed and managed by Dean and Lisa Hansen.
Two further blocks adjacent to each other totalling 250ha (240ha effective) were later purchased at Taniwha, 12km from Hukaroa Station, as a finishing farm.
The Hansen family are proud and regular suppliers to the award winning Hereford Prime quality beef programme in the greater Waikato region.
The business is owned by Hansen’s Farms Ltd – and is very much a family business. Directors Peter and Glennis are still actively involved with Herefords and the NZ Hereford Association. Their son Dean and his wife Lisa manage the Hukaroa Station and Hereford stud. Dean and Lisa have three girls Briar, 16, Gemma, 14, and Erica, 12 who enjoy being involved on the farm.
Hukaroa Station is in the hills 26kms east of Te Kauwhata and rises from 60 metres to 400 metres above sea level in the Hapuakohe Range where it’s facing westerlies that bring sleet in winter while on calmer days there are frequent frosts.
They farm 5500 stock units comprised 60% of cattle for breeding and finishing and the remaining 40% of stock units for breeding store lambs.
The sheep flock numbers 1100 breeding ewes, 600 ewe lambs for replacements and 22 breeding rams and with a lambing percentage of 128% there are 1500 lambs on the ground to be sold as stores in January at a target live-weight of 30kg and the tops making 40kg.
Hukaroa Station has 180 breeding cows including in-calf rising two-year old heifers, 90 homebred heifer calves, 65 heifer calves bought for fattening, 116 steer calves bought for fattening, 90 homebred bull calves, 20 rising 2-year old sale bulls and five breeding sires.
Close to 180 calves are born - a 97% calving rate – and at the time the calves are weaned, all the yearling steers which were purchased the previous year as calves, are sent to the Taniwha block for finishing.
The weaner target weights are 260kg for bull calves and 240kg for heifer calves while the mating weight for yearling heifers averages 350kg with 330kg the minimum weight.
The couple have an expert eye for cattle - Dean, 45, from an early age was helping his parents’ with their Hereford stud herd at Ardmore while Lisa also comes from a farming background on her parents’ Friesian dairy stud farm at Karaka.
The couple first met while showing cattle at an A&P Show and for the duration of their 20-year marriage they have developed Hukaroa Station into the picture it is today.
“We work well together. We also have very similar ideas about the type of cattle we like,” says Lisa. They test their knowledge in which they independently assess pens of young cattle and then compare rankings.
He says the Hukaroa herd is bred for calving ease, as indicated by smooth shoulders, good weight gain that can be carried on a long body with deep capacity, and durability on the hills as seen in their strong legs and overall soundness.