Bruce & Sally McGregor of Pakaututu


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2024 East Coast Finalist: Bruce & Sally McGregor of Pakaututu – Dairy grazing and beef 

The couple behind this dairy grazing and beef farm are guided by a strong vision that has seen them transform it into the sustainable and profitable property it is today. 
Bruce and Sally McGregor purchased the original 300ha farm in a 50:50 partnership, adding an adjoining 280ha property in 2018, and buying their partners’ share four years later.  
The original block was extremely run down and had limited infrastructure. The McGregors stripped the fencing and created an intensive cell system on the better-quality land, while retiring steep areas. They repeated this development approach across the second property and today have a 350ha platform which is subdivided into 215 cells and features lanes and reticulated water.    
The platform winters about 950 cattle, a mixture of spring and autumnborn dairy grazers, plus about one-quarter of their own trade cattle to provide flexibility to the system.   
There’s a sharp focus on developing both a sustainable and profitable farming systemwith the McGregors striving to reduce inputs while improving efficiency. Their capital investment in infrastructure enables them to run a simple farming system that is well matched to land type and can be run with minimal staff. 
The judges commended on the quality of pastures, saying these were achieved primarily through good grazing and fertility management.  
The 230ha of retired land has been planted in mānuka and mixed natives. The judges were impressed with the couple’s strategic planning that includes protecting and monitoring waterways, and planting generous riparian margins with native trees.  
The 40% of the property that has been retired is either regenerating or planted in native bush, including a 17ha block which has been identified as an area of significance.  
Biodiversity is further boosted through active pest and predator control, providing a spectacular environment for the McGregors, their staff, family and invited groups. 

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