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Robots bring flexibility to Kaukapakapa waterfront farm

Tags: Rural

Technology has turned a North Auckland dairy farm into a lifestyle and investment opportunity for anyone wanting to participate in the dairy industry, without the twice a day commitment in the dairy shed.


Bayleys Country Property Specialist, John Barnett, is marketing a 179ha dairy unit at Kaukapakapa that features four robotic Lely Astronaut milking machines, which operate 24/7 to milk the farm’s 200 cow herd.

He says the installation of the robotic system by the owners several years ago continues to deliver on its promise of a more flexible farming operation, happy cows, and better use of the owners’ time.

“You can avoid the tie of early morning and afternoon milkings, with a system that is very ‘cow-centric’. Each cow sets her own time for when she wants to be milked, coming into the dairy, and having her milking and production all recorded by the robotic system.”

This freedom provides the owner the opportunity to focus on other aspects of the farm operation, or even retain employment off the farm, aided by the property’s proximity to Auckland city.

The property has enjoyed a peak production level of 69,564kg milk solids supplied to Fonterra, plus a further 8,899 kgMS which was used for calf rearing.

Positioned on the edge of the Kaipara Harbour, the three titled dairy unit provides its purchaser with a number of options, including the ability to sell off the smaller of the three titles of 6.8ha.

The property comes with a wide array of infrastructure to support the robotic system, including Redpath herd homes located near the dairy shed, silage bunkers, calf sheds, hay sheds and three water bores, two of which are artesian fed.

Both three-bedroom homes on the farm have recently been double glazed and have private lawn and gardens settings.

The farm’s effluent system is fully complaint for 200 cows, has a 25-hectare irrigation field, plus offers storage for 90-plus days over wetter periods.

The farms flat contour provides plenty of cropping options whilst its rich fertile soils create a great base for the superb quality pastures or potential horticultural use. A solid fertility record includes an Olsen P level of 20-58 on naturally fertile Takahiwai clay soils.

The farm is well subdivided by a mix of two wire electric and traditional post and batten fencing into 67 paddocks and linked by an extensive race network system.

In combination with the robotic system, the current owners run a medium-input operation that includes molasses and dairy pellets as bought in supplements alongside home-grown inputs including 15ha of maize a year and grass silage.

Regular re-grassing has accompanied all previous maize plantings in an annual grass crop harvested for silage, prior to re-sowing in a perennial rye-clover mix.

All stock are currently wintered on the property, and 200 calves are also raised each year, most recently a mix of spring-born, and autumn born calves.

Alongside the property’s proven pastoral production comes a lifestyle that can incorporate both land and sea, with the ability to fish directly off the farm, or use the local boat ramp, located only 600m from the farm boundary that opens up even more of the fishing opportunities on the mighty Kaipara harbour.

“It really is a case that the flexibility the robotic system brings means you can structure your day in a way that traditional dairying really does not allow for; to the point you can time your fishing to the tide times, not the milking times,” says John Barnett.

The farm’s location on the west coast ensures regular rainfall for much of the year, averaging a generous 1350mm per annum.

“For anyone who has had an interest in being part of the dairy industry, but perhaps has been put off by the inflexibility smaller dairy units sometimes bring in terms of demands on owner’s time, this waterfront farm really offers the best of both worlds.

“There’s the opportunity to leverage off the technology to enjoy a more flexible farming operation, and the sort of lifestyle living in this part of the country can deliver.”

Click here for more information on the listing.

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