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One of New Zealand’s foremost ‘robo-farms’ placed on the market for sale

Tags: Rural

One of New Zealand’s foremost state-of-the-art technology-led dairying operations has been placed on the market for sale.


Riverholme Pastures in the South Canterbury township of Pleasant Point was the first location in the South Island to introduce a DeLaval voluntary milking system (VMS) where cows walk themselves to the milking shed - where they are processed in fully-automated milking units.

Stock are rotated among the various grazing paddocks by computerised selection gates. The whole farm system can be monitored from a number of strategically-placed cameras. The process means Riverholme’s stock can be managed from the other side of the world by a farmer sitting in front of a computer screen.

The Riverholme Pastures operation consists of three adjoining landholdings. The first at 233 Te Ngawai Road is a 155-hectare property milking some 480 cows off a milking platform of 135 hectares which produce in the region of 200,000 kilogrammes of milk solids through the automated DeLaval system.

The property includes two nearby support blocks at Totara Valley Road – one a 57-hectare unit which is used for rearing young stock and grazing cows in winter, and the other a 78-hectare unit used for growing winter feed crops and cereal, as well as also rearing young stock and grazing cows in winter.

Bayleys Canterbury has much pleasure in bringing this truly unique and exciting opportunity to the market. Riverholme Pastures can be sold as the whole property, sold separately in three blocks, or interested parties could take an equity stake in the business. Offers close at 4pm of Thursday 14 December 2017.

Bayleys Canterbury salespeople George Morris and Nick Young said the Riverholme Pastures farm voluntary milking system cost in the region of $400,000 more than a conventional 50-bail rotary shed to install, but enabled the property to be run with 2.5 labour units rather than a rotary shed farm’s three-plus personnel.

“The voluntary milking system delivers long-term labour-savings, in conjunction with increased productivity, and better animal welfare. Those farmers using the DeLaval system credit the increased output on running a calmer herd milking at optimum periods in the day, and an extension to a cow’s milking life,” Mr Morris said.

“The farming methods employed at Riverholme Pastures really are cutting-edge in New Zealand, given that the largely grass-based feed system uses very little in the way of supplementary feeds which are usually associated with robotic farming operations.

“The operation has been closely watched by the dairy industry at large – more so with looming tighter immigration regulations aimed at restricting the number of foreign works coming into New Zealand to work on our dairy farms.”

Mr Morris said building infrastructure on the Riverholme Pastures properties included:

• A dairy containing six DeLaval robotic milking units

• A nine-bay automated calf-rearing shed with automatic calf feeding equipment delivery the capacity to rear up to 400 calves

• A large two bay concrete-floored implement shed plus older woolshed

• Three grain silos and

• A renovated three-bedroom owner/manager’s home.

Mr Morris said the Riverholme Pastures farms were planted in a mix of ryegrass, clover, chicory and plantain.

“Riverholme’s feeding statistics show the farm is feeding about 1.2 kilogrammes of meal per cow daily – with feed consumed during the automated milking process to keep the animal calm and relaxed,” Mr Morris said.

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