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Tree-planting grant potential creates a hive of activity around livestock farmland up for sale

Te Puna Station just north of Wairoa in Southern Hawke’s Bay is a 1,594-hectare property which has some 80 hectares of hillside planted in manuka – the preferred vegetation of apiarists because of the plant’s appeal to bees.

The 80-hectares of ‘unique manuka factor’ plantings on Te Puna Station were laid down in 2016 under the then Government’s Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) programme at a ratio of 1000 stems per hectare.

The UMF (unique manuka factor) rating for honey is a trademarked grading system which allows honey to be tested for the percentage and strength of manuka enzymes in honey. The higher the UMF rating, the more valuable the honey is assessed at on the open market.

Te Puna’s owners received $1,300 per hectare under the programme – spending the one-off income injection to plant manuka, as well as on fencing maintenance and improvements.

Last year, the AGS scheme was replaced by the Government’s much-vaunted One Billion Trees Fund - where new manuka and kanuka plantings are eligible to qualify for subsidies of up $1,800 per hectare for new forested conversions of up to 300 hectares of dry stock or dairy farm land.

Implementation of the new One Billion Trees Fund means any new owner of Te Puna can apply for a second manuka planting grant - which could net as much as $540,000 if processed.

Te Puna Station ranges from 120 metres above sea level to 740 metres above sea level, and receives more than two metres of rainfall annually. Stock records show Te Puna Station has carried 9,477 stock units over the 2018 winter and has budgeted to carry 10,013 stock units for the 2019 winter.

The freehold property at 2775 Mangapoike Road is being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Hawke’s Bay, with tenders closing at 4pm on March 7. Bayleys Hawke’s Bay salespeople Tony Rasmussen and Simon Bousfield said the potential of receiving a six-figure contribution from the Government’s One Billion Trees Fund would be attractive for many potential buyers.

“Vegetation establishment grants have already been acquired for the first portion of manuka planting on Te Puna Station – with the proceeds used to fence off the forested areas which are due to come into flowering production later this year,” Mr Rasmussen said.

“This fencing has considerably improved stock-management on the grassed paddocks and lower hillside areas in what has effectively become a mixed-use business model,” Mr Rasmussen said.

“With a substantial portion of Te Puna Station’s topography rated as ‘steep’, there is the obvious economic potential and benefit to apportion up to an additional 300 hectares of land into more manuka plantings under the One Billion Trees Fund – thereby enhancing the mixed use revenues already emanating from the property.

“The Government’s planting incentive of $1,800 per hectare for native trees and shrubs is also well above the rate of $1,500 per hectare for exotic plantings such as eucalyptus, redwood, or pinus radiata.

“By working in conjunction with apiarists and introducing the hosting of hives to converted manuka plantings within the block, a new owner of Te Puna station is in the envious position of diversifying their revenue streams – and getting funding to do so in the process. It’s a triple-win scenario… benefitting the environment, the local economy, and of course the land owner,” Mr Rasmussen said.

Farm building infrastructure on the Mangapoike Road farm consists of:

• An 11-stand 391 square metre woolshed with hydraulic wool-press and grinder, adjacent to a 1,080 square metre night pen built in 2004 and capable of holding up to 2,000 sheep

• An adjacent set of cattle yards with drench racing

• A two-bay 61 square metre corrugated iron implement shed.

• A horse stable complex including tack room, workshop and implement shed and

• Three satellite sheep yards in various corners of the farm

Accommodation on the property consists of a new three-bedroom owner/manager’s residence currently under construction and due for completion by the end of March this year, along with a pair of three-bedroom workers’ cottages and a drover’s hut adjacent to one of the satellite stock yards.

The property had a stocking ratio consisting of 61 percent sheep and 39 percent cattle. Lambing percentages on the block over the past four years have ranged from 109 percent to 119 percent, while calving percentages in the same period have ranged from 69 percent to 86 percent. Mr Rasmussen said stock units grazing on the farm could also be bought at current market valuations by any new owner.

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