Friday, July 8, 2022

The answer lies in the soil

The fertile loam soils of a Whataroa dairy farm for sale on the West Coast grow grass and for Dave Nolan and his wife, Barb O’Neill-Nolan they are the vital ingredient that has enabled them to lift milk production above the district average.

Today the farm spans 179ha and produced 176,000kg milksolids (MS) last season from 480 cows to reach just below the 1000kg MS/ha mark after steadily expanding their operation for the past 15 years.

The farm was originally a smaller beef block that they converted and milked 160 cows on, gradually expanding numbers to 300 before buying the neighbouring farm and lifting numbers to 500.

Extra hectares and cows prompted an extension of the dairy, taking the herringbone to 40-aside and adding meal feeders, a Protrack drafting system and, with an eye to the future, expanding the yard so it could hold close to 650 cows. Beside the dairy, a two-pond settling system collects effluent before spraying it onto pasture via a travelling irrigator.

All the cows are wintered on the farm, while young stock are reared on a 100ha runoff six km away which is available for long-term lease. Silage is also made on the runoff, which is boosted by 150 tonnes of meal each season.

The season's calving kicks off on August 1 each year and continues through to May 31, helped along by that reliable rainfall.

The farm is entirely flat and Dave said its layout make it easy to farm, with 48 paddocks flowing onto good races to the dairy.

About 16ha of those paddocks have just been regrassed and will be adding to this season's autumn feed store.

Housing on the farm is a good standard, including a four-bedroom and office summerhill stone main home, a three-bedroom wooden bungalow and a fully self-contained single person's quarters.

One of the advantages of buying a West Coast dairy farm was the Westland Milk Products' share price of $1.50 a share, Dave said. Their Whataroa farm has 175,851 fully paid-up shares that are included in the $5.4 million sale price. Stock is also available at valuation.

For further information, contact Dave on 03 768 0500 or 021 170 8532 or Ross Levett on 0274 310 209, or visit

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