During the working day, Kevin Deane is best known as a rural sales consultant, auctioneer, and co-owner with his wife Andrea of the Harcourts franchises in Cambridge, Matamata and Morrinsville. But afterhours, Kevin is most likely to be found going back to his farming roots and tending his beloved Hereford herd.
Kevin started his own stud, Dunmanway Stud, with purebred pedigree breeding females which were in calf, from Stoney Creek and Matapouri bloodlines.
“The name Dunmanway is after the town in County Cork, South West Ireland, where my grandfather emigrated from in 1925,” says Kevin.
Currently the herd stands at 18 breeding females, 16 rising one-year-olds – of eight heifers and eight bulls – and Kevin’s pride and joy, a huge bull called Hukaroa Nepia, from the Hukaroa Stud.
“His paddock name is George, after the rugby player George Nepia,” says Kevin. “He weighs in at around 800kg, but he’s pretty quiet.”
The herd is run between the Kevin’s own 8ha block in Eureka, Waikato, and an 8ha lease peat block nearby. It is hoped all the breeding females are now in-calf to the mighty George, with due dates in July. Next season, a yearling bull will be brought in to service George’s daughters from this season.
The rising one-year-old bulls are being prepared to be sire bulls. They have human contact daily and are used to being around people, farm vehicles and farm activity, so are paddock-quiet when they sold. The rising one-year-old heifers will be kept as breeding stock for the extension of the herd.
Kevin feeds his stock a grass-based diet, with hay grown on the farm when required, and no meal.
“I believe in keeping it simple,” he says.
The herd is rotationally grazed, using a fresh break of pasture each day. With the assistance of a farm practice consultant and Soil Fertility Services, Kevin has invested in the land. Regular fertilising and undersowing has produced more grass per hectare.
“We grow perennial Rohan grass on the home block,” says Kevin. “While on the peat block we grow annual Shogun grass, and plant maize in rotation.”
The yards at the home block have been upgraded to accommodate the larger Hereford beasts. A new Combi Clamp crush and Gallagher electronic weighing system have been installed, and the yard races widened. Kevin, Andrea and their two children, Jack and Ellie, all get involved in regular musters, for weighing, vet treatments and drenching. Close friend and experienced farmer, Ric Manning, also assists with stock management and farm jobs when Kevin has to be away on business.
“Regular weighing is important to monitor growth progress,” says Kevin. “Plus the regular handling assists with keeping these large animals quiet and manageable.”
Kevin’s goal is to expand the herd and increase the bloodline quality. He acknowledges that he still has a lot to learn about Hereford breeding values but is keen to learn.
It would be safe to say that when Kevin disappears from time to time, he can probably be located in a back paddock, talking to his “girls” or having man-to-man banter with big George.