7 June 2002

Get more for less in New Zealand

DESPITE recent price rises and a slight appreciation in the value of the NZ$, Kiwi land still represents good value for UK farmers.

This ability to move up to a substantially bigger unit is one of the key draws for beleaguered British producers still forced to pay upwards of £2500/acre to enlarge their holdings at home.

But, when selling the boot is on the other foot. Strong residential demand means a farmhouse in a reasonable location can often make upwards of £500,000 and this would more than cover the average cost of a farm in New Zealand.

However, such a holding would probably support around 4000 stock units and agent Kim Shannon, of Wrightson Real Estate, advises potential owner-operators from the UK to go for something bigger to insure against medium-term price fluctuations.

At the very top end of the dairy farm market, the firm is offering a 1085-acre property in the Hawkes Bay region on the east coast of North Island for NZ$10m (£3.3m). The owner of HB Dairies runs 1240 cows that are milked using a 60-bale rotary parlour giving a yield of 600,000kg of milk solids/season. At current values, this gives an income of $NZ3m/year (£1m).

For less than half the cost, Montrosa Gold, an 860-acre stock farm at Waihi, also on North Island, is available. But it is not just the amount of land that makes NZ holdings so attractive. Many include guest houses and cottages in addition to a large farmhouse.

As well as a 6500sq ft, five-bedroomed principal dwelling, Montrosa has a three-bedroomed cottage and a beach hut on its own private stretch of beach. The price even includes all plant, machinery and household furnishings. &#42

Lots of milk… The parlour at HBDairies handles over 1200 cows.