New Zealand organic pioneers place farming unit up for sale
26 August, 2014
place farming unit up for sale
A sizeable landholding which is part of one of New Zealand’s oldest organic farming operations has been placed on the market for sale.
The farms just north of Tolaga Bay on the East Coast and trading under the brand Kiwi Organics, have been run by the Parker family for more than 50 years – the last 23 of those under ‘certified organic’ branding. Owners Mike and Bridget Parker are former winners of the Heinz Watties Organic Farmer of the Year title.
Kiwi Organics farm and manufacture primary products for customers throughout the Pacific Rim - including Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia. The company’s products are Bio Gro Certified, USDA/NOP Certified, and EU Certified and Gluten Free.
Now Mike and his wife Bridget are selling up part of the farming operation – the 136 hectares of organically-certified, highly-productive pasture flat land and hill country unit known as Fenlands. The couple intend keeping their other bigger organic land-holding, Broadlands, which is fully self-sufficient for supplying their cropping requirements to their organic milling operation.
Fenlands consists of 102 hectares of tile-drained flats and some 34 hectares of hill country with sandy and silt loam soils. Currently used as a dairy grazing and finishing block with organic cropping rotations, Fenlands boasts water reticulation for every paddock from three well-stocked dams. The largest of the dams is rarely required for water but is kept in reserve.
“Water reticulation was an issue we identified very early on in the farm’s current state and took steps to remediate. The property has an average annual rainfall of approximately 1300 millimetres,“ Mr Parker said.
“This access to substantial water reserves has consequently enabled Fenlands to avoid the production constraints of droughts which other farms in the locality have endured over the past decade - including producing substantial supplementary feed - ” Mr Parker said.
“For example, in the 2012/2013 drought period the farm continued to increase stocking rates.”
The property features a three-bedroom home overlooking the farm, a three stand woolshed and covered yards, cattle yards, and an additional centrally-located sheep yards and hay shed. The property is divided into 22 paddocks on the flats and eight paddocks in the hills.
Fenlands farm is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Gisborne at auction on September 5. Bayleys Gisborne salesperson Simon Bousfield said the diversity of Fenlands underpinned a plethora of ownership options – including dairy conversion, cropping under its existing format, or for use as a finishing farm for larger herds in the East Coast region.
“The vendors are open to discussing on-going supply contracts with any potential new purchaser. Alternatively, the option is also there for any new owner to utilise their existing supply contracts,” Mr Bousfield said.
“As a finishing unit, it would have to be one of the best grazing landholdings on the East Coast, even including Hawke’s Bay.
“A full history of Fenland’s bio-organic farming status is available for review. Artificial fertiliser has not been applied to the property since the Parkers purchased it. Biodynamic preparations have been used throughout the past 15 years.”
In keeping with tradition, the pastures are constantly renewed on a rotation and have been sown with a mix of chicory, plantain, broome, timothy and clovers, Mr Bousfield said. All current pastures have been sown in the past three years.
“The farm has historically produced five tonnes per hectare of organic popcorn and has won awards for its sweetcorn tonnage with crops grown for Heinz Watties, as well as producing high-yielding squash crops.”
Mr Bousfield said Fenlands was currently running 300-400 dairy heifer grazers - lifting to 600 after the winter. Stocking projections forecast the farm could comfortably fatten 10,000 lambs in a season.