Large scale corporate sell-off puts 29 farms on the market
Thursday 21 January 2010, 9:13AM
The biggest corporate farming sell-off ever seen in New Zealand is placing 29 state-of-the art ‘designer’ farms on the market – for a combined asking price of $224.5million.
Carter Holt Harvey is selling the newly developed dairy farms which it converted from forestry land around Tokoroa after harvesting the trees. They range in size from 218 hectares to 726 hectares, and range in price from $5.1million to $10.4million. Combined, the farms are currently supporting almost 20,000 dairy cows.
The farming units are being jointly marketed by Bayleys Real Estate and PGG Wrightson.
Bayleys senior country agent Mike Fraser-Jones said Carter Holt Harvey is selling the farms as part of the company’s planned conversion of forest land to dairy farms in order to divest assets outside Carter Holt Harvey’s core business activities.
Mr Fraser-Jones said the farms had been commissioned into production on a rolling schedule since the middle of 2008. All properties were located within a 20 minute radius of Tokoroa and are sited near other existing dairy farming units.
Each farm comes with a new dairy shed configured for farm size, assuming three cows per hectare. All farms have a deep bore with a pressure water system, while the dairy sheds are a mix of five herringbone and 24 rotary.
“The farms represent the end process of converting forested land back into a productive state. Once the trees were harvested, Carter Holt Harvey recycled the remaining stumps and tree material into a valuable organic ‘potting mix’ material, which was spread onto adjacent pasture land and further enriched with fertiliser applications to create highly productive dairy grazing land,” Mr Fraser-Jones said.
“It’s an economically beneficial and responsible method of regenerating the land resource,” he added. “Carter Holt Harvey sold off some of its land around Tokoroa in the late 1990s, but retained 30,000 hectares with the best contour, soil type and locality to be developed as these dairy farms now being sold.
“The farms are all new and no expense spared to ensure they are highly specified with the only capital expenditure to outlay being continued development of rows of decaying trees to improve the productive capability of all the farms.”
Mr Fraser-Jones said all the farms had been developed using high tech practices in modern dairy farm design. Carter Holt Harvey used an advanced ‘greening’ process for recycling tree material left from its harvest to create better fertility on the farms, applying lime, phosphate and chicken manure before substantial sowing of rye grass and clover – with all fertiliser applications managed and tracked by GPS mapping.
“Each of the farms have been designed for optimum efficiency, with approximately 1500 metres being the longest walking distance for the cows, centrally located, top-of-the-line dairy sheds, and three architect-design homes located for both convenience and views,” he said.
“The farm layouts were extensively mapped with global positioning satellites and computerised mapping systems to optimise the layout of fences, buildings, races, water systems, effluent systems and farm services. Steep areas, gullies and wetlands have been fenced out for aesthetic reasons, and to protect the environment.
“The company took particular care to comply with environmental best practices - with a view to complying with future nutrient controls that may be applied by Environment Waikato on the Waikato River catchment from Taupo and Karapiro,” Mr Fraser-Jones says.
Mr Fraser-Jones said Carter Holt was willing to talk deals with serious purchasers and acknowledged that with the sheer scale of some of the farms, that joint ventures or equity partnerships may be the way ahead. All 29 farms are being marketed with prices attached.