One of the North Island's biggest lime quarries and farm fertiliser production plants has been placed on the market for sale.

Brown's Lime Quarry near Dannevirke is a 12.8-hectare open cast lime pit producing two grades of crop and pasture enhancing fine lime for aerial and ground spreading, in conjunction with coarser lime gravel for use in cattle races and roading.

The quarry has been operating since 1994 – servicing dairying and sheep and beef farms in Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Rangitikei and Whanganui regions. The company leases bulk lime storage facilities in Dannevirke and Whanganui.

The quarry's parent company runs a vertically-integrated business – quarrying and extracting the lime, crushing and drying it to various degrees of granular sizes, and marketing the finished product under the consumer label Brown's Quality Lime.

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The fully consented freehold quarry land, crushing/drying plant and heavy quarrying machinery, and retail business as a going concern, are now being marketed for sale for $1.75 million through Bayleys Napier.

Salesman Rodger Howie said that with dairy and meat farms constantly looking for more environmentally-friendly ways of increasing grass and pasture management procedures, the practice of lime application had grown substantially over the past decade.

"Browns Quarry is estimated by mining analyst company Arcadia Resources Ltd to contain between five and seven million tonnes of lime. The highest annual lime production from the quarry in the past 20 years has been 35,000 tonnes, so there is still plenty of rock which is prime for excavation, crushing and direct sales to the consumer.

"It's unlikely this quarry will run out of lime in the foreseeable future as the existing face and cuttings are exposing substantial depth and width of commercial high-grade lime.

"Brown's Lime Quarry has a distinct market advantage - being the only lime producing quarry in the North Island which uses a drying plant in the processing. This process makes its lime the most even-spreading and free flowing lime on the market.

"The hourly lime production rate utilising current plant is up to 70 tonnes per hour – being run along a small owner/operator business model - employing the owner and two other full-time personnel. With existing open cast excavation infrastructure and faces in place, and room for the addition of more plant and machinery, there is considerable potential to bolster output levels."

Lime is the most common soil preparation used on New Zealand farms, and is applied primarily to neutralise acidification in the soil. Acidification occurs in all farmed soils - caused by normal biological processes, such as nitrogen fixation, nitrate leaching and photosynthesis.

Howie said Brown's Quarry had the benefit of being surrounded by sheep and beef grazing land, with no residential dwellings in close proximity, meaning any move to increase production output would have minimal environmental impact.