« View all news

Gearing up with Smith Ag

We run an agricultural contracting business and a shearing service from Maraekakaho, just out of Hastings. The locals call it the Sahara Desert of Hawke’s Bay – it can get pretty dry up here. 

About three and a half years ago we bought our first tractor and direct drill, and with the help of local contractor J P Wilson and word of mouth, the contracting business has grown from there.  

We mainly work on cultivating and seeding feed crops for sheep and beef farmers – kale, chicory, swedes, and maize. We also help out J P Wilson with a bit of discing, ripping, hoeing and power harrowing. 

Farming is in our blood. Ingrid’s folks run 3,500 acres in Wairoa, and my family farmed up in Ruawai in Northland. 

Dad had a couple of thousand ewes, so that’s how I learned how to shear. He also did a bit of ag contracting and I worked alongside him on that for a while, then I decided that I should probably see the world before I settled down in one place. 

After moving to Hawke’s Bay and spending 10 years following the shearing season around the world, we saw an opening to start doing some contracting. I always wanted to be involved with machinery and seeding, and I could see the guys we were shearing for were lacking the right people to do the job. 

The idea was just to take a break from shearing, but then the opportunity arose to get bigger so we bought a couple of tractors, then took on another driver.  

Ingrid looks after the paperwork side of things, the wages and all the bookwork for the shearing, and the invoicing and GST for the contracting. She’s also in charge of refuelling everyone! 

I’m pretty much full-time on the tractors these days, which is the stage we wanted to get to. I think of it as future proofing – starting up a business which I enjoy and have a passion for, but which isn’t as taxing on the body as shearing.  

It’s important to me to have good gear, to be able to do things properly and have everything looking smart and professional. Ingrid says I like things to be nice and tidy and new, so it suits my personality to have new gear!  

We’ve been dealing with Norwood for a year or so and have been slowly changing our gear over, including the two big blue tractors we run for the business, the New Holland T7.270 AC and T8.380. 

We work with Grant (Blackberry) in the Hastings dealership and he’s brilliant. He just gets things sorted. Our most recent acquisition was a little T5.105 loader tractor and topper for our farm, which Grant dropped off himself on Christmas Eve, much to the delight of the kids! It will also come in handy for general tidying up for our sheep and beef clients.  

We’ve just taken possession of the new T8 series tractor which I’m really excited about. It will do all the heavier broadacre work, running our 5-metre hoe and our 6-metre metre power harrow. The T8 has a totally new cab so I'm enjoying working with that. 

I’m pretty good with the technology side of things. I like to just get in and have a play and then ask questions later! But if we do have any issues the guys at Norwood come out and show us what’s what and give us a brief on anything new.  

My favourite piece of kit? That would have to be the T7.270. It’s so nimble, so smooth on the road. If there’s an option on what to drive, everyone steals the 270!  

We’re feeling pretty positive about the year ahead. We've got good people around us in our business, good clients, we strive to do a good job and if it’s not we fix it. Word of mouth spreads and so I think we will have that bit of growth out to where we want to be.  

Click here to see more Norwood customer stories.