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Bull finishing farm steered towards a sale

One of Northland’s most substantial bull finishing farms has been placed on the market for sale.

The 400-hectare property is located on the western outskirts of the township of Kawakawa in the Mid-North, and is held over 24 individual titles in three blocks. The farm’s topography consists of 268 hectares of rolling to medium-contour grazing paddocks, and 108 hectares of flat land – allowing for tractor-access to 95 percent of the property.

The farm also contains 24 hectares of mature pruned pine trees ready for harvesting, and estimated to be worth in the region of $360,000. The freehold farm has been owned by three generations of the Cookson family.

Originally established as a dairy farm but now run as a bull finishing farm, the Kawakawa property has been operated with two labour units - returning an average of $1,225 per hectare over past three years.

The farm at 1752 Ruapekapeka Road is being marketed for sale by auction at 1pm on May 11 through Bayleys Whangarei. Rural specialists Alex Smits and Lin Norris said the property stocked between 1100 – 1300 cattle over summer, easing back to between 750 – 880 animals over winter. Weaners were bought in and held for two winters before being sent to market.

“When other farms are having to re-stock during dry summer conditions, this farm is able to maintain, and even increase stock numbers, as the flats continue to grow grass. This growth sustains between 200 – 450 large bales of baleage,” Mr Smits said.

“There are six feed pads on the flats, and these are used for winter and flood feeding out, with mobs of up to 40 bulls held on each pad.

“The property has been farmed conservatively over the past few years, and there is scope for any new owner wishing to achieve a higher level of stocking intensification through the greater paddock subdivision - with the use of sticks and wires. Currently, the farm is subdivided into 219 paddocks.”

Building Infrastructure on the farm consists of a three-bedroom homestead, a second three-bedroom manager’s dwelling, a basic two-bedroom single man’s quarters, an old cow shed, woolshed, four fertiliser bins, airstrip, rock quarry, two sets of yards sustained by loading races, and multiple half-round and square hay barns and implement sheds.

Soil types on the property consist of predominantly of Hukerenui silt loam, with Otaha clay, and Whakapara sand on the flats. Resulting pasture contained a blend of rye and clover bases, with kikuyu. Mr Norris said the property had a long history of fertiliser application – with various quantities of sulphur, selenium and lime being spread over the decades – and had twice been a finalist in the Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture Awards for farming excellence.

Mr Smits said that farm land in Northland was cheaper than most other parts of New Zealand, and the average winter temperature for the province ranged between 12 – 15 Degrees. Both of these were reasons for attracting rural property buyers to Northland.

“This Ruapekapeka Road farm is 15 minutes from boat-launching facilities in the Bay of Islands – handy to the Cape Brett fishing grounds where kingfish, marlin, grouper and snapper proliferate,” he said.

“Alternatively, with an extensive Kawakawa River boundary and pond system, the farm is well set up for ducks. Pheasants and white baiting without leaving the property.

“The farm also borders the town of Kawakawa which is renowned for the Hundertwasser toilets, and the steam train which runs through the middle of the town. Kawakawa is also on the Twin Coast Cycleway which links Opua with Horeke.

Mr Norris said the property was irrigated through a mix of spring-drawn water and town supply – all stored in a range of header tanks before being gravity fed to paddocks. Just down the road from the farm was the Ruapekapeka pa site which was a pivotal battlefield in the Maori Land Wars of the 1800s.

He said the property’s main block fronted onto Ruapekapeka Road, Paihia Road and Fraser Road – making stock management straightforward. Internally, the property was accessible by either quad-bike or tractor on a well-maintained race network.

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