Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : September 2009 Contents 8 The Dairyman SEPTEMBER 2009
• from page 7
They employed a manger and continued
sharemilking. The following season, in 1992,
they sold the property and moved to
Milking 120 cows on 49ha at Hoe-O-
Tainui was not without its challenges.
"It had a very heavy soil type called
Hamilton Clay Loam and we found that real-
ly tough going," Dick said.
"The cows would sink to their knees in
winter and in summer it would turn to con-
It was also the time the Noorts started to
dabble with Belgium Blues.
"We got up to 40 Belgium Blues of vari-
ous ages and sizes up to three-quarters bred
but when 13 out of 14 needed Caesarean sec-
tions in one season we decided we were
there to milk cows and were not part time
beef breeders, and we sold the lot," Dick
"The calves were up to 50kgs -- I remem-
ber the vet saying 'lift, lift' as he was cutting
and me saying 'I am lifting the bloody
In 1996, the couple did a side shift and
purchased a 49ha farm in Springdale milking
180 cows. They leased another 32ha for
three years, taking cow numbers to 280.
The lease block went on the market and
they tried to purchase it but were unsuccess-
"We dropped our numbers back to 170
cows and cruised along then a 42ha runoff in
Kiwitahi, Morrinsville, became available
and we purchased that with the view of graz-
ing young stock and growing maize," Dick
A decision to sell the Springdale property
right at the peak of the $7 payout meant they
were off with their real estate agent again.
With severely gouged tanker tracks, bar-
berry hedges almost touching in the races,
and silage wrap and string everywhere the
Noorts walked away on their first visit but
with other farms the same size selling for
millions more they thought they would go
back for another look.
In June 2008, Dick, Barbara and daughters
Ann-Marie and Nicola shifted out to the
113ha Okauia property. The first month they
were there a big storm came through -- eight
trees came down, power was out for 16 hours
and the wind picked up the calf shed and put
"We started calving then every week for
five weeks straight and a storm came through
on the Saturday night," Barbara said. "We
had 130mls in two days and lots of wind."
They calved 280 cows with not a lot of
supplement. The 40,000kg DM left behind
when they purchased became 30,000 when
they went to feed out due to spoilage from
rats and possums.
Fertility was down and also a lot of pasture
was run out. Six hectares were put in turnips
in summer 2009 and 300 round bales of
silage from the run-off helped during the
drought then they started to dry cows off
from March and were all dry by May 5 fin-
ishing the season at 70,000kg/MS - below
what they had budgeted on.
• continued page 10
THE Noorts employed Kayne
Sutherland, Ann-Marie's partner, to
manage the Okauia farm and Dick
managed the runoff.
Dick said Kayne and Barbara virtu-
ally ran the farm by themselves the
first year because he was looking after
the Kiwitahi block, moving mobs and
cropping 80ha of maize.
"Because the payout was up we
doubled what we would
normally put in. We were going
to make a fortune selling maize
-- yeah right."
"Fertiliser and seed costs
tremendous cost to put in the
ground then we sold it for
12c/kgDM standing and lost
Kayne and Barbara had to
contend with a farm with no
power going to any fences,
fences lying on the ground and
they lost count of all the water
of other people would have left
because of the conditions,"
Selling the Kiwitahi runoff
freed up capital and they decid-
ed to extend the cowshed.
They were lucky to get the
job done, the original contactor
got sick and on short notice a
local builder, Renee Rutten, came to
the rescue as he had had a cancella-
He oversaw and took charge of the
whole job from the site preparation to
the concrete and the pipe work and
finished one week out from calving.
"In hindsight, it worked out really
well, he did a really good job -- it is
The runoff and Okauia development
Kayne Sutherland with Dick and Barbara.
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