Feilding High School is proud to own two farms; Manawanui and Ngākaunui, which are used for teaching and learning.
Ngākaunui is our 16ha dairy farm which is located adjacent to the school on Churcher Street; a convenient 5 minute walk from the Ag/Hort teaching block. This farm was purchased in 1930 and has been used primarily as a dairy farm throughout the years. The farm started off milking Red Polls, with a change to milking Shorthorns in the 1950s. More recently, we have a Friesian herd of around 60 cows which are split calved.
Ngākaunui’s herringbone cowshed was replaced with a DeLaval VMS (Voluntary Milking System) robot in October, 2015. This has added a new dimension to agricultural education with there being a focus on animal health and welfare, as well as it providing a huge range of data. Feilding High School was the first school in the Southern Hemisphere to have adopted this new technology.
Manawanui is our 81ha sheep and beef unit located on Halcombe Road; just a short 5 minute drive from the school campus. This farm was purchased in 1933 and has primarily been used for sheep and beef production, along with some forestry. The farm finishes 3,000 - 5,000 trade lambs a year and is supported by a small breeding flock of Romney ewes which are mated with Suffolk and Poll Dorset terminal sires. The farm also rears all of the calves produced by the dairy farm until they are two years old. The farm plays an important role with the facilitation of students drenching, vaccinating, shearing, docking, fencing and observing the reproductive cycle of sheep.
Both farms are run in conjunction by the farm manager. Students who take the Agricultural courses at Years 10-12 are rostered on Farm Duty. This involves them working on both farms throughout the day for two days. Students carry out the specific daily tasks required to run both units. These include assisting with the running and cleaning of the robot milking system, setting up break fences, rearing calves, docking, drenching, crutching, shearing and fencing.
Owning farms and offering hands on aspects of the school’s Agricultural courses is one of many significant points of difference that Feilding High School has to offer. We are fortunate to offer a Carrfields and H&T Agricultural Scholarship each year to assist two students beyond the school gate on their journey to university or an agricultural training facility. Applications for this award open in October of each year and the winners are announced in the Senior Prizegiving.
The success of the farms are due to the ongoing financial and technical support provided by our dedicated farm committee. We would like to thank H&T Agronomics, Carrfields Livestock, the Bartlett’s, Totally Vets, Mike Osborne, Lucy Willoughby and John Turkington Forestry for their continued support.