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Fergus O'Connor of Donnybrook Farm near Nelson has devoted his life to continuing the practise his grandfather started when he arrived in 1855 and that’s to continue using his clydesdales for working the farm. Manure is recycled and spread over the soil, that grows the oats, which feeds the horses. Fergus teams up three of his horses ready for a day’s work with the Massey Harris reaper/binder machine, dating back to 1929. Cost effectiveness running the farm by horse power, an alternative to the tractor means he breaks about even, but his real achievement is the preservation of the tradition, history and blood lines that go with the clydesdales.
His son Martin and a visitor from Germany are on hand to do the stacking of the sheaves.
Roddy O’Connor, Fergus’ brother has little to do with the horses, but specialises in operating the old chaff cutter. There are only about 200 clydesdales left in New Zealand and 30 of them are on Donnybrook. In 1892 a good clydesdale could cost up to £30, today a good mare could cost up to $3000 - $4000. Fergus would like to see more draught horses put to practical use simply because being what they are, there’s a place in New Zealand for the clydesdale.

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Year 1981

Reference number F9208

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image


Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Television

Duration 0:13:46

Production company Television New Zealand

Location information

Credits Producer: Frank Torley
Reporter: Keith Slater
Camera: Murray Creed
Sound: Beverley Creed
Sound Mixer: Brian Shannon
Production Assistant: Vivienne Holmes
Film Editor: Finola Dwyer

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