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Family affair... Southland farmers Allan and Jennifer Taylor's children and grandchildren have all been involved in helping on the farm at some stage. PHOTO: ASHLEIGH MARTIN

Even from a young age Allan Taylor enjoyed being on the farm and would hide in cars to get a chance to visit his grandparents’ and uncle’s farms.

He grew up in Mataura and while his family lived in town, they had a small block of land where they raised sheep, cows and pigs among other animals, he said.

Mr Taylor and his wife Jennifer own a 380ha mostly flat farm.

The operation is about 70% sheep, 25% oats and barley and 5% beef.

Mr Taylor said he believed his family had been farming since the time of the early settlers and he was about the sixth generation of his family to settle on the land.

“There’s nothing like farming where we’re farming in Eastern Southland,” Mr Taylor said.

His two daughters and six grandchildren had all lived the farming life at some stage.

“For families that have had the experience of growing up on a farm, there’s benefits there that many people miss out on and I think there’s still something about the lifestyle.”

They had had children involved in the farm from when they could walk and while some people might see that as “inviting trouble”, the children were always aware of the dangers and knew what to look out for on the farm, Mr Taylor said.

Mrs Taylor said farming allowed the whole family to work together both on the property and in the business side of the operation.

“It’s a privilege to be able to do that,” she said.

Mr Taylor said they were kept busy by having a variety of stock and crop on the farm, but the different aspects were complementary.

“Sometimes if you’re just farming one type of animals or one particular type of farming, you’ll have your less busy times and your more busy times, but having a variety keeps you a bit more busy throughout the year.”

Their flock was predominantly Romney and a black face was used as a terminal sire.

Average lamb killing weights varied from year to year, but they aimed for 18kg and the lambing percentage was about 150%.

The farm had a basic annual lime and fertiliser programme.

“We soil test to keep an eye on what’s happening on the farm and to try and keep a balance between production and cost.”

system for pasture renewal each year and had found the production of the new pasture was way ahead of the older pastures, which was good for growing young stock, Mr Taylor said.

He and his wife had reached a point in their farming career where they were looking to the future and what would happen with the farm.

“We’re grateful for the opportunities we’ve had in our farming career,” he said.

Farming involved working with other people, who brought a lot to the operation.

“You rely on other people. You don’t farm in isolation and the people you work with are a huge asset to both the farm and the business.”