From Ewes to Vineyards: Unveiling the resilient agricultural journey of Paul Hickman in Taimate

From Ewes to Vineyards: Unveiling the resilient agricultural journey of Paul Hickman in Taimate

Dominic George sits down with Paul Hickman, a beef stud farmer from Taimate, to delve into his diverse operation.

George opens the conversation by setting the scene of Taimate's arid conditions, "apparently, according to my producer, Joe Grigg, Paul Hickman is having another day in paradise. That's, if you like, hot, dry weather." To which Hickman wittily responds, acknowledging the inherent challenges of farming in such an environment, "If you're complaining about the dry, well, you probably shouldn't be farming here."

Amid the parched landscape, Hickman details the strategic expansion of his farm operations, revealing the acquisition of additional land, which has provided "extra scope" and allowed them to be "quite relaxed and conservative" during the dry season.

His move away from sheep to cattle and viticulture was a response to changing conditions and personal passion.

"Something had to go, so the ewes had to go," Hickman explains, emphasising the importance of flexibility in farm management.

Despite the climatic adversities, Hickman's ventures have seen considerable success. 

"We're probably going to up it a few numbers. We have been putting 80 through the ring the last couple of years... But we might even put up 90."

This quote reflects his confidence in the cattle breeding operation, even planning to finish "10,000 to 12,000 lambs a year" as the business develops.

Hickman touches upon the equine side of his business, showing that diversification has been key to his farm's success. When asked about the racehorse aspect of the operation, Hickman credits his brother for the expertise. 

"He's the brains behind it. I just feed them and look after them." 

The episode also highlights the recent foray into viticulture, a sector that Hickman reports has had "pretty much record productions" in the past two years, despite the market pressure. 

It's looking fairly good compared to what it could have been," showcasing  Hickman's ability to find silver linings and opportunities in challenging conditions.

Listen to the full chat between Paul Hickman and Dominic George above.

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