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Bay of Islands students visit dairy farm

Thursday 5th July 2018

Bay of Islands students visit dairy farm operating Northland’s first raw milk vending machine

A group of students has visited a dairy farm operating Northland’s first fresh raw milk vending machine.

Longhill Farms is nestled in the rolling hills south of Kawakawa and is owned by Bevan and Joanna Taylor.

The farm will calve 220 cows this spring. The herd is milked once-a-day all season and supplies Fonterra.

A smaller mob of cows, currently 13, is milked separately to supply a raw milk dispenser on the property.

“It’s the first fresh raw milk vending machine in Northland and has been in operation since mid-May,” said Bevan.

“We have previously done home deliveries of raw milk. This option is a lot less labour intensive.”

The farm was recently visited by the fledgling TeenAg club at Bay of Islands College.

“We had an amazing time,” said TeenAg member Kyla Sherbanowski.

“We learned why the Taylor’s are breeding a crossbred herd to improve their cows’ milk output and composition.”

The trip is part of a project the Year 13 students will be working on next term examining the dairy and beef sectors.

“Cleaning procedures for raw milk supply need to be more thorough because the milk is not pasteurised,” said Bevan.

“We wash and dry the teats of each cow before the milk is harvested. That’s easier to do with a smaller mob.”

Longhill Farms currently sells about 35 litres of milk a day through the vending machine. It hopes to get to 100 litres a day.

“Tasting the milk was awesome. It was creamier and sweeter than normal milk from the supermarket,” said Kyla.

“We really enjoyed having the TeenAg students come to visit. They asked lots of questions,” said Bevan.

Selling their own milk demands extra skills not required by most farmers.

“Joanna does an amazing job managing our website and Facebook page. There’s a lot more paperwork as well,” said Bevan.

The couple started diversifying their business two years ago when they bought 50 beehives.

They now produce their own honey, which is also sold on farm.

“The students were really interested in honey production and how beehives are set up and work,” said Bevan.

Students also visited the farm of contract milker and Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year Daniel Bradbury.

Bay of Islands College is one of a dozen Northland schools which have TeenAg clubs.

Photos of the trip can be found on this Google Drive:


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