After ten years dairy farming, it’s time for us to move on. The farm we have been sharemilking on for the past five years has been sold, our contract expires and the farm changes hands on the same day, 1 June. We have had a good run, the owners have been happy with what we have achieved in terms of milk production and we ourselves have come close to our own goals in terms of how much money we wanted to save.
Our main goal has always been to own our own farm. Nothing too extravagant, enough for a few animals, an orchard and room for the kids to roam around. Finding something we like, on our budget was never going to be easy, some compromises on quality and location have had to be made.
After a month of negotiations we have finally settled on 38 hectares in the Hokianga area. It has a house on it with four bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 2 kitchens (don’t ask, I don’t know). Nine hectares are in QEII covenant native bush, there are kiwi in the area, and the intention behind the covenant is as a home for kiwi. The covenant means it must remain fenced off from stock, and pretty much left alone forever. The house is in need of some repairs, not because it is that old, but because it has been poorly built and poorly maintained according to the builders report, this and the poor presentation of the property in all respects helped us get it for a good price. We are happy with the place, though it needs a lot of work to get it looking good.
We are planning to raise a few beef animals, some pigs and some chickens. Hopefully we can do well enough to earn our income from the farm, as well as growing a lot of our food to keep our expenses down.
Dairy farming has been good for us, and it is a good career to be in, but it is difficult, demanding and dirty work. The early mornings, long days are enough to put a lot of people off, though I am most looking forward to not thinking about the cows all day every day, have they got enough to eat, what paddock are they going to next, is it going to rain, is it going to flood etc. It will be nice to do something more rewarding.
The next time I go up there I will take some more photos to share.