statistics

Milksolids - 2.9m kgMS
People employed - 65
Cows - 9500
Area farmed - 4090ha
Dairy Farm land - 2900ha
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BEL Group

In 2012 BEL Group completed a company restructure to removing Epic Agriculture and Barry Farm Partnership.   As a result BEL Group owns four dairy farms units - Ashton, Springfield, Hedley and Ellingham.

Ashton is a 600ha irrigated dairy farm on Ashcott Road, approximately 15km west of Waipukurau. It is an intensive property running a total herd of 2600 cows made up of 1000 winter calving cows and 1600 spring calving cows using a feedpad alongside the farm dairy to feed cows additional supplementary feeds. Ashton milks all year with a winter milk herd calving in late March and a spring herd calving in early August.

Fairlea is 460ha partially irrigated dairy farm neighbouring Ashton. Fairlea currently has 262ha under pivot irrigation with a further extension of 52ha planned for 2015. Fairlea is calving 600 cows in the Autumn and 700 cows in the spring.

Springfield is a 340ha property, located on Paget Road approximately 30km west of Waipukurau. This is a property prone to summer and autumn dry periods. Springfield milks all year with a winter milk herd of approximately 20% of total cow numbers.

The Ashley Clinton farms are Hedley and Ellingham, located approximately 25 minutes drive south west of Waipukurau. The farms are in close proximity to the western ranges enjoying stronger summer rainfall than the other BEL Group farms. The area is predominantly pastoral and sheep & beef farming with rural primary schools in the area and secondary schooling in Waipukurau.

Hedley at 200ha and Ellingham at 115ha total area. Hedley milks 650 cows at peak and Ellingham up to 350 cows at peak.   Hedley has been a dairy farm for many years, while Ellingham was converted in 1996/97 and additional neighbouring properties have been added to Hedley between 1996 and 1998.


ASHTON  FAIRLEA  SPRINGFIELD  ELLINGHAM  HEDLEY  

 

ASHTON

Ashton has a total of 600ha of which 540ha are irrigated, predominantly with centre pivot irrigation.  2600 cows are milked at peak with 1000 calving in late March to milk through the winter and approximately 1600 cows calving in the spring.  Ashton usually has around 200 cows available for sale in the late spring.

PEOPLE

Ashton is led by a Farm Manager and then has two teams of people, one leading operations in the farm dairy and the other the operations on the farm including managing the feeding of cows on the feed pad, irrigation and daily grazing and farm management.

In total Ashton employs 14 full time people with casual staff usually joining the team over the summer to support people taking leave and completing various project work.

COW NUMBERS

Ashton has a herd totalling 2600 cows, of which aprroximately 1600 cows are milked in the winter.  Historically this winter milk herd has been used to carry young, high producing empty cows from other BEL Group farms through to a spring mating.  Steadily Ashton is calving more of this winter herd as freshly calved cows and the proportion of carry over cows is reducing.  The Autumn calving starts on the 20th March.

The spring herd is made up of 1600 cows calving in early August.   Ashton has been able to develop surplus cows each year and usually has around 150- 200 cows available for sale either as late calving spring cows or as in milk cows in October each year.

Ashton will peak milk 2600 cows. 

The Ashton herd is predominantly Friesian cows although are now moving to cross breeding in the main herd and replacement heifers.

DAIRY

60 bale rotary, Waikato plant with an adjoining cattle handling facility allowing cows to exit from milking and be drafted for artificial insemination, lame cow treatments or other specific work which can be completed while the dairy continues to operate. The farm dairy usually operates for between 8 and 10 hours a day.  Peak milking operation will be in excess of 12 hours per day and at the lower winter cow numbers around 6 hours a day.

Ashton has a specailist calf rearing facility with a 400 calf capacity, a 1000 cow concrete feed pad and a variety of implement and storage sheds at the dairy.  There are four 45mX20m concrete feed bunkers which can hold approximately 500 tDM each.

Ashton is also home to the Engineering team and holds a fully equipped engineering workshop.

FARM SYSTEM

Ashton runs an intensive pasture based grazing system.  Up to 1200 kgDM/cow can be purchased annually.  The bulk of this feed is purchased as Grass Silage and Maize Silage with some straw, PKE and vegetable by products used.   Price is a critical factor in all purchase decisions and the criteria is set at less than 2cents per MJME.

Feed is used to maintain higher cow intakes every day, with larger amounts of feed being fed out from May to September.  Irrigation and nitrogen fertiliser are used to support pasture growth throughout the year and summer and autumn supplementary feed requirements are dependent on the summer and autumn rainfall pattern.Maize, Barley and Fodder Beet are grown on-farm to increase the total feed production from dry and irrigated land.

Calves are grazed off the property  from when they are able to leave the calf rearing facility and are gazed on the neighbouring BEL Dairy Support block, Turners, until they are ready to go out to contract grazing.  These animals return as Rising 2 year heifers ready to calve. 

Dry cows are grazed off from after drying off until calving.  The dry period of cows is kept to a minimum and is usually between 6 and 8 weeks.

PRODUCTION - KG MILKSOLIDS

2012/13   843,584
2013/14   838,818
2014/15   888,883 (forecast)
2015/16   885,940 (budget)

 CLIMATE AND SOILS

Rainfall is usually around 1000mm per annum with most rain falling May to August,  good December rain is relatively common but not relied upon.  The farm is generally subject to prolonged dry spells from November through to April/May.
The winter period is relatively moderate and usually averages 10 - 12 weeks duration.  Ashton is a summer dry property which could not function as a dairy farm without irrigation.
Altitude is approximately 200m above sea level.
Soils are predominantly a Sandy Loam with some Stony Gravels.  The soils are very free draining, although prone to drying out.

FERTILISER

A nutrient budget is completed annually to determine the fertiliser requirements of the farm.  A usual annual dressing is 290kg/ha of of NPKS mix in the spring and 210 kg/ha of NPK mix in the autumn
Effluent is able to be spread across 25% of the farm area via travelling irrigators..
Olsen P from 2014 fertiliser tests averaged 32.5, pH was 6.4.

WATER AND IRRIGATION

There are three pivots, the main pivot covers 250ha, the second fixed pivot covers 150ha and the third is towable with two hydrant points covering 28ha.  A further 90ha is irrigated with travelling rota-rainers.

Water for irrigation is drawn from three bores which are the main irrigation water source.  A small amount of water is permitted to be taken from the Tukituki river with a consent to allow surplus water to be diverted to irrigation river levels are sufficiently high.

Domestic and farm water are also drawn from the bores and reticulated around the farm.

HOUSING

A 4 bedroom open plan living with formal dining and lounge villa as the Farm Mangers house, three 3 bedroom cottages, small self contained two bedroom cottage and shared accommodation in the Ashton Lodge for up to four people.

 

FAIRLEA

Fairlea Farm is located on Ashcott Road in Takapau, neighbouring Ashton and is made up of 460ha, of which approximately 280ha is irrigated, as well as 140ha neighbouring lease blocks. This farm runs 1300 cows, 700 spring calving and 600 autumn calving cows. It is running a largely self-contained system with 100ha of the lease land used for dry stock. Barley grain, maize silage and fodder beet are grown on farm. BEL Group took over this farm in June 2013.

PEOPLE
Fairlea has a Farm Manager, Managers Assistant, two Herd Managers and one Herd Managers Assistant.

COW NUMBERS
Fairlea peak milk around 1,300 cows, the spring calving starts 20th July and the Autumn calving 20th March. Fairlea has predominantly Friesian herd which is now being cross bred as part of a wider BEL Group strategy.

DAIRY
The dairy is a 60 bale rotary with protrack vantage, in-shed feeding and electronic ID systems. Calf and implement sheds are also located nearby to the dairy.

FARM SYSTEM
Fairlea runs a moderate to higher input system, designed to produce 1,100 kgMS/ha each year. Approximately 1t/cow of feed is provided in addition to pasture grown. The majority of this additional feed will be grown as barley grain, maize silage and fodder beet on un-irrigated and lease land.

PRODUCTION- KG MILKSOLIDS
2013/14   433,001
2014/15   398,735 (forecast)
2015/16   452,006

CLIMATE AND SOILS
Rainfall is usually around 900mm per annum, with most rain falling May to August. The farm is generally subject to change to prolonged dry spells from November to April/May. The winter period is relatively moderate and usually averages 10-12 weeks duration. Fairlea is a summer dry property and relies on irrigation. Altitude is approximately 200m above sea level. Soils are Takapau silt loam.
Olsen P in 2014 fertiliser tests averaged 19.3 and pH was 6.1.

WATER
There are three pivots covering 262ha in total and a further extension planned for 2015 will increase cover to 314ha. Water for irrigation is drawn from the Tukituki river with a consent that allows water to be drawn when river levels are sufficiently high to allow surplus water to be diverted to irrigation. Domestic and farm water is drawn from bores.

HOUSING
The farm managers house is a homestead with three bedrooms and pool, there is also another three bedroom house and pool as well as two two-bedroom cottages.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD

Springfield  milks off a total of 330ha.  This farm is prone to summer and autumn dry periods.  It milks at peak around 1100 cows, of which up to 300 are winter milked.  The winter milk herd is a mix of carry over and freshly calved cows.

Springfield is a pasture based system with turnips, grass silage, maize silage and winter grazing available to support production.

PEOPLE

Springfield has a Farm Manager, Managers Assistant and up to three Herd Manager Assistants with some casual staff helping with workloads at the busier times throughout the year.

COW NUMBERS

Springfield peak milks around 1100 cows, the spring calving starts around 20th July and the autumn calving 20th March.

The Springfield Herd is predominantly smaller cross-bred and jersey cows.

DAIRY

62 bale, internal rotary dairy.
Calf and implement sheds are alongside the dairy.

FARM SYSTEM

Springfield runs a pasture based grazing system purchasing approximately 700 kgDM/cow as Grass and Maize Silage each year.  Up to 10% of the farm is planted in turnips for  feeding in January/February.  Pasture silage and maize is fed according to the priorities of winter period, 3 weeks following rain after the summer dry, extending lactation length in the autumn and lastly milking cows through the summer.

Springfield has a concrete race with troughs which can be used to feed out on to 300 cows during the winter period.

Nitrogen fertiliser is used to support pasture production through July - September and then again in November/December to ensure strong covers and longer grazing rotations going into the summer.  Nitrogen is also used with the Autumn rains in April and May to recover pasture cover going into the winter period.

Calves are grazed off the property from January for the Spring born calves and after weaning for the Autumn born, these animals return as Rising 2 year heifers ready to calve. 

Spring calving dry cows are grazed off from after drying off in May until calving.  Autumn calving cows are often grazed off during their dry period from sometime in January returning in early March.  This decision is season dependent.

PRODUCTION - KG MILKSOLIDS

2012/13   290,684
2013/14   348,215
2014/15   325,418 (forecast)
2015/16   325,014 (budget)

CLIMATE AND SOILS

Rainfall is usually around 1150mm per annum well distributed throughout the year although the main rainfall months are May through August.  Generally Springfield is prone to extended dry periods between January and April.
Altitude is approximately 290m above sea level.
Soils are predominantly a Takapau Sandy Loam (240ha) with Silt Loam making up the remainder of the dairy area.

FERTILISER

A nutrient budget is completed annually to determine the fertiliser requirements of the farm. 
Effluent is able to be spread across 25% of the farm area via a travellling irrigator.

WATER

Stock water is reticulated through a trough system by a submersible pump on a pressure system to two 22,500 litre tanks at the farm dairy.

Domestic Water is is pumped to a 22,500 litre tank and then is reticulated to the houses on the property.

HOUSING

A 4 bedroom + office managers house, 3 bedroom villa with sleep-out, 2 bedroom cottage and shared accommodation at the Longrow Quarters.

 

ELLINGHAM

Ellingham milks off a total of 115ha, of which approximately 110ha is effective area.

PEOPLE

Ellingham has a Farm Manager and a Herd Managers Assistant with some casual staff helping with workloads at the busier times throughout the year.

COW NUMBERS

Ellingham peak milks up to 380 cows, all spring calving staring late July.
The herd is predominantly made up of cross-bred cows.

DAIRY

22 Aside herring bone.
Calf and implement sheds are alongside the dairy.

FARM SYSTEM

Ellingham runs a pasture based grazing system.  Approximately 500 kgDM/cow is purchased as pasture and maize silage.  Around 7% of the farm is planted in turnips for  feeding in January/February.  Pasture silage and maize is fed according to the priorities of winter period, 3 weeks following rain after a summer dry, extending lactation length in the autumn and lastly milking cows through the summer.

Nitrogen fertiliser is used to support pasture production through July - September and then again in November/December to ensure strong pasture covers are produced and longer grazing rotations can be adopted going into the summer.  Nitrogen is also used with the Autumn rains in April and May to recover pasture cover going into the winter period.

Calves are grazed off the property from January, these animals return as Rising 2 year heifers ready to calve. 

Some dry cows are grazed off from after drying off in May until calving, leaving approximately 1 cow/ha to be wintered at home over the winter months.

 

 CLIMATE AND SOILS

Rainfall is usually around 1500mm per annum and is well distributed throughout the year.
This property has good early spring potential and moderate summer and autumn climatic conditions.
Altitude is approximately 330m above sea level.
Soils are predominantly a volcanic ash over a silt loam, they can be prone to pugging, this is supported by Ellingham's easy rolling aspect which helps drainage.
Ellingham has a number of mature shelterbelt plantings.
Olsen P in 2013 fertiliser tests averaged 32 and pH was 6.5.

FERTILISER

An annual nutrient budget is completed each year to determine the fertility requirements of the farm.
Effluent is able to be spread with a travelling irrigator across 25% of the farm area.

WATER

Stock which is reticulated through a trough system by a submersible pump on a pressure system to two 22,500 litre tanks at the farm dairy.

Water is sourced from a dam at one end of the farm, Ellingham can also source water from the Hedley farm supply if needed.

HOUSING

A 3 bedroom managers house and a 3 bedroom cottage.

 

PRODUCTION - KG MILKSOLIDS

2012/13   97,900
2013/14   111,490
2014/15   113,519 (forecast)
2015/16    113,619 (budget)

 

HEDLEY

Hedley milks off a total of 195ha, and peak milks up to 650 cows.

PEOPLE

Hedley has a Farm Manager, Managers Assistant, two Herd Managers and casual/part-time staff to support the farming operation and workloads at the busier times throughout the year.

COW NUMBERS

Hedley  milks 650 cows at peak milk, all spring calving starting late July. 
The herd is predominantly made up of cross-bred cows.

DAIRY

44 Aside herring bone.
Calf and implement sheds are alongside the dairy.

FARM SYSTEM

Hedley runs a pasture based grazing system.  Approximately 500 kgDM/cow is purchased as pasture and maize silage.  Around 7% of the farm is planted in turnips for  feeding in January/February.  Pasture silage and maize is fed according to the priorities of winter period, 3 weeks following rain after a summer dry, extending lactation length in the autumn and lastly milking cows through the summer.

Nitrogen fertiliser is used to support pasture production through July - September and again in November/December in order to ensure strong pasture covers are created and longer grazing rotations can be adopted going into the summer.  Nitrogen fertiliser is also used with the Autumn rains in April and May to recover pasture cover going into the winter period.

Calves are grazed off the property from January.  These animals return as Rising 2 year heifers ready to calve. 

Some dry cows are grazed off from after drying off in May until calving, leaving approximately 1 cow/ha at Hedley over the winter months.

PRODUCTION - KG MILKSOLIDS

2012/13   175,630
2013/14   206,476
2014/15   198,307 (forecast)
2015/16    207,912 (budget)

CLIMATE AND SOILS

MetService data records rainfall as usually 1600mm per annum, this rainfall being quite well distributed throughout the year.
This property is more at risk of a wet late winter/early spring due to soil types.  It is quite strong summer and autumn country.
Altitude is approximately 330m above sea level.
Soils are predominantly Ash over Silt Loams with good fertility and drainage characteristics, approximately 55 ha is a heavier soil with a pan restricting the soils drainage capability.

FERTILISER

An annual nutrient budget is completed each year to determine the fertility requirements of the farm.
Effluent is able to be spread through a travelling irrigator across 25% of the farm area.

WATER
Stock water is reticulated through a trough system by a submersible pump on a pressure system to two 22,500 litre tanks at the farm dairy.

Water is sourced from a  well approximately 30m deep.  Ellingham farm water supply can be accessed in times of increased demand.

HOUSING

A 3 bedroom managers house, 3 bedroom cottage and a 3 bedroom villa shared at Peterdale.

 

 
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