Wednesday, 20 April 2022 06:55

Value creation, not capital gains

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
The award-winning Gleniffer farming enterprise in the Waitaki Valley is on the market. The award-winning Gleniffer farming enterprise in the Waitaki Valley is on the market.

It's not about the value of land but what you create on the land, according to North Otago, farmer John Foley.

He says it is high time people move away from focusing on capital gains.

The award-winning farmer is putting his property up for sale because a severe back injury is forcing him out of farming.

Former cropping farmer Foley switched to dairying nine years ago, owning land and converting it into dairy farms.

With wife Ruby, he developed a 112ha farm, Gleniffer farming enterprise in the Waitaki Valley five years ago, turning the cropping block into a dairy farm milking 435 cows.

Foley says it has been an incredible journey to develop the property, which won the North Otago Irrigation Company environmental award in 2015 and 2019.

"We built it up from scratch," he told Dairy News.

"When we developed the farm, I was aware of the criteria it would be judged on in the future - things like animal welfare, happy cows, environmental standards and returning a strong bottom line."

Foley says he runs the farm as an enterprise rather than an extensive farming operation.

"The simplicity of it is it's measurable, productive, and provides financial rewards," Foley says.

"The reason we set the farm up as we have is there's got to be a return on investment and this demonstrates that, rather than just relying on capital gains from the land, this is an investment proposition.

"It's farming for the future with enterprise value.

"When designing this system, we placed a lot of emphasis on having happy cows."

The farm is forecast to produce 300,000 kgMS this season and has a supply contract with Oceania Dairy. Some of the milk is used for producing UHT products and Gleniffer also has a premium winter milk contract.

The milking herd is split into spring and autumn herds milking year-round. Feed and milk performance is monitored with a focus on feed utilisation.

Limiting the use of synthetic fertilisers keeps fertiliser costs low - another key function of the farm, which is designed to exceed regional and national environmental standards.

The hybrid farm system include a 54.7ha grazed milking platform and a 45.3ha ungrazed cut and carry area. A 60ha block available for leasing is used to produce mainly silage and wintering the herd.

Foley says he's sad to let the farm go.

"I really cannot carry on physically; I have a further back operation scheduled in a couple of month's time," he says.

The farm is being sold by Colliers and expressions of interest are being taken until May 5.

Colliers Queenstown director of rural brokers, Ruth Hodges, says the farm operates a high stocking rate and achieves a very high production per cow by maintaining feed quality, minimal walking distance and compact calving.

"The cows are housed in two herd homes to have a two-hour pre-milking feed of high-quality supplements before every milking.

"The herd then returns to the paddock for grazing straight after each milking," she adds.

"The cows are high producing Friesian Holsteins of a larger frame and are part of an industry-leading enterprise that has the potential to shape the future of dairy farming in New Zealand."

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