Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm

July 2014

Training the next generation of farmers at Smedley Farm

Smedley Station has a reputation for being the pre-eminent farm cadet training facility in the country and takes 11 cadets each year for a two-year course. The station and cadet training farm offer a unique opportunity for young Kiwis looking for a rural career and offer hands-on training to develop the skills required by young farmers in New Zealand. 

The property is a 5054ha (3186ha effective) sheep, beef and deer farm near Tikokino, northwest of Waipukurau. It’s home to 22 cadets who get a wide range of learning opportunities during the two years they live and work on the property.

Smedley Station was bequeathed to the Crown in 1919 by Josiah Howard who wanted the farm to be used for agricultural training. The manager reports to the Josiah Howard Estate advisory board and the Public Trust farm unit manager.

Over the last decade the station has undergone a period of significant consolidation. This includes the sale of outlying blocks and the purchase of two large neighbouring stations, Onepoto and Ridgelands, which are managed separately but with activities dovetailing into the Smedley block.

Last year the mainly rolling to steep hill country station wintered 28,500 stock units, including 11,500 ewes, 500 breeding cows, 365 breeding hinds and 450 velveting stags.

The cost of the training to the student is nil. Apart from clothes, harness gear and dogs, all costs including food and accommodation are covered by the station. First year cadets are involved mainly in general work and second year cadets mainly in stock work. Horses have always been a key part of life on Smedley Station and cadets learn how to break in and train station hacks.

The Smedley Cirriculum includes.

  • Working with sheep, beef, deer, horses, dogs and some dairy experience. This includes breeding, mating, handling and mustering.
  • Experience in finishing of stock using feed budgeting.
  • Understanding and treatment of diseases and injuries.
  • Experience and training in the use and training of working dogs.
  • Handling and breaking in of horses.
  • Killing and dressing of sheep, beef and pigs.
  • Experience in erecting conventional and electric fences.
  • Repairs and maintenance of both.
  • Handpiece work – dagging, crutching and shearing. Yard work – dipping, drenching, vaccinating etc.
  • Chainsaw use, safety and maintenance.
  • Scrub cutting.
  • Repairs and maintenance of buildings, yards, tracks and water systems.
  • Weed and pest control.
  • Experience with tractors, 4WD’s, and ATV’s.
  • Ground working experience.
  • Some experience with mechanical repairs and maintenance.