Harley and Neroli Davies

Strength and performance

A passion for agriculture drives Canterbury couple Harley and Neroli Davies.

The couple, both from farming backgrounds, have farmed the Gawler Downs property for 23 years.

The 1187ha property is an ideal balance of hills and flat land to achieve good breeding and finishing performance. It comprises 600ha of native tussock, 200ha of developed hill country and the rest is flat. The hills have been subdivided into about 50 paddocks varying in size from 10ha to 30ha.

Harley and Neroli are in the process of irrigating up to 110ha in two stages, with 65ha being installed this winter ready for next season. They winter 4,000 ewes (with a 178% scanning rate) and 1,150 hoggets with 600 to 700 mated (at 115% scanning).

As strong ANZCO suppliers, they are involved in several ANZCO premium programmes, on lamb as well as beef.

All lambs are finished on ANZCO's Waitrose and Longdown programmes. The couple has 300 breeding Angus cows; trades up to 500 bulls, steers or heifers and have 150 deer. They also supply ANZCO's Five Star Beef feedlot and Aleph programme.

The farm features light, stony soils and heavier soil on the hill country. Rainfall for the farm ranges from 990mm on the flat to 1143mm on the hill country. A typical pasture mix consists of 12kg of Samson perennial ryegrass, 6kg of prospect perennial ryegrass, and 6kg of clover per hectare. For the lamb finishing pasture, they grow straight red clover, plantain and lucerne. Approximately 80ha of winter crop is sown in swedes, kale or fodderbeet either on the flats or cultivated hill paddocks.

Harley and Neroli say the property's strengths are important in the farm's performance. These include reliable rainfall; the farm's proximity to sales yards and ANZCO's Canterbury site; a good balance of breeding and finishing land; and access to irrigation.