One of Northland's most substantial bull finishing farms has been placed on the market for sale.
The 400ha freehold farm owned by three generations of Richard Cookson's family is on the western outskirts of Kawakawa and has over 24 individual titles in three blocks.
The farm consists of 268ha of rolling to medium-contour grazing paddocks and 108ha of flat land, allowing tractor-access to 95 per cent of the property.
The farm also contains 24ha of mature pruned pine trees ready for harvesting and estimated to be worth about $360,000.
Originally established as a dairy farm but now run as a bull finishing farm, the property has been operated with two labour units, returning an average $1225/ha over the past three years.
The farm at 1752 Ruapekapeka Road is being marketed for sale by auction at 1pm on May 11 through Bayleys Whangarei.
Rural specialists Alex Smits and Lin Norris said the property stocked between 1100-1300 cattle over summer, easing back to between 750-6880 animals over winter. Weaners were bought in and held for two winters before being sent to market.
"When other farms are having to restock during dry summer conditions, this farm is able to maintain, and even increase stock numbers, as the flats continue to grow grass. This growth sustains between 200 to 450 large bales of baleage," Mr Smits said.
"There are six feed pads on the flats, and these are used for winter and flood feeding out, with mobs of up to 40 bulls held on each pad.
"The property has been farmed conservatively over the past few years, and there is scope for any new owner wishing to achieve a higher level of stocking intensification through the greater paddock subdivision with the use of sticks and wires. Currently, the farm is subdivided into 219 paddocks."
The farm has a three-bedroom homestead, a second three-bedroom manager's dwelling, a basic two-bedroom single man's quarters, an old cowshed, woolshed, four fertiliser bins, airstrip, rock quarry, two sets of yards sustained by loading races, and multiple half-round and square hay barns and implement sheds.
Soil types on the property are predominantly Hukerenui silt loam, with Otaha clay, and Whakapara sand on the flats. Resulting pasture contained a blend of rye and clover bases, with kikuyu. Mr Norris said the property had a long history of fertiliser application — with various quantities of sulphur, selenium and lime being spread over the decades — and had twice been a finalist in the Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture Awards for farming excellence.
Mr Norris said the property was irrigated through a mix of spring-drawn water and town supply — all stored in a range of header tanks before being gravity fed to paddocks.
Just down the road from the farm is the Ruapekapeka pa site which was a pivotal battlefield in the Northern War of the 1800s.