James Lindsay has been managing the family property, Stoneburn Station in the Nenthorn Valley near Macraes gold mine for the past six years. Carrying 12,000 stock units – with 230 Angus and Angus cross cows and 7000 ewes, James has improved productivity greatly through development and management including his passion for livestock production genetics. The balance of stock is made up of trading stock and depending on season may include fattening cattle or sheep such as merino wethers.
Stoneburn is a tough environment receiving about 700 of rainfall annually, but the Lindsays have put a lot of resources into pasture development, and grow 200 hectares of winter crops each year. The landscape is stunning and stark but very picturesque as it is punctuated with magnificent rock formations.
The beef cattle programme is simple and began with a very good base herd of Hereford cows which were crossbred with Angus bulls and have resulted in a very impressive herd of black baldy cows which are mated to Angus bulls. A herd of straight Angus cows has also been developed in tandem from a straight black herd base. Fossil Creek Angus bulls have been used nearly exclusively for the past 8 years, resulting in a herd of very strong and quiet commercial cows. Recently the mixed age scanned 98% in calf, which will help enable James to grow the cow numbers to over 300.
Cows are mob wintered on the hills with no supplement and if necessary prior to calving the younger cows or lighter females may get to clean up unused winter brassica crops following the ewes. Bull selection is always carefully appraised, with a strong emphasis on maternal traits, moderate growth and fertility including fat covers.
All steers and surplus heifers are wintered at Stoneburn then sent to Southland to another family finishing property where they are grown out with the goal of maximizing premiums at Silver Fern Farms, which is paying dividends especially for their Angus bred animals.