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Sheep Farm Field Trip – Hamilton Branch

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NZCFS – Field Trip – 28/10/2023

The Hamilton Branch of the NZCFS had a day trip around a number of rural attractions located near Te Awamutu which is a short drive from Hamilton. The group first stopped off at Yarrndley’s Bush which is an impressive example of a Kahikatea-dominant swamp forest. Some trees were over 35 meters tall! The board-walk through the grove lasted about 30 minutes which included a 10 minute break atop a very picturesque and lofty viewing platform. Silver ferns – a well-known national symbol of New Zealand – were in great abundance.

The group next went to Lake Ngaroto for a light picnic lunch. A sailing regatta was being held on the lake which made for quite an interesting and entertaining rest. Thankfully the weather was exceptionally fine with a light breeze blowing. Some of the group had a leisurely stroll around the lake while some others investigated the boats being loaded/unloaded at the jetty. A handful of curious ducks entertained the youngest members of the group.

The final stop of the trip was Innes brooke Sheep Farm which milks around 650 sheep although this number is being rapidly increased each season. After a brief history by the co-owner – Katherine Spataro – we were shown around the lamb rearing shed (and patted a few lambs). The farm’s primary ‘final product’ – a can of instant milk powder destined for China – was presented. We were introduced to various staff (from Belgium, Australia, & Brazil as well as some Kiwis). We saw the milking herd being shorn which unfortunately meant that the milking had to be postponed until after our departure. However we did stroll through the milking pit and vats stand in order to better understand the milking process which happens twice a day.