Demonstration farm chairman Maurice Hardie (left), Southern
Dairy Development trustee Stefan Du Plessis, demonstration
farm business manager Stacy McNaught and Southern Dairy
Development Trust chairman Matthew Richards. Photo by
Plans to establish a $26.5 million permanent commercial
demonstration dairy farm in Southland need the support of dairy
farmers in the region.
''We have one shot to get this right and we need the Southern
community behind us, because it is not going to happen
without it,'' Southern Dairy Development Trust (SDDT)
chairman Matthew Richards said.
Mr Richards and project leader Maurice Hardie presented the
proposal at an Environment Southland meeting in April.
The proposed farm, to be known as the southern dairy hub,
would have about 850 cows on a 300ha-380ha property. It was
hoped to buy land in central Southland.
The hub would show best farming practices and provide
education and research facilities, with the aim of securing
the future of the dairy industry in the south for future
generations, Mr Richards said.
A contribution of about $2 million was needed from southern
farmers to secure other funding. That equated to about $2000
from each of the 992 dairy farms in the region.
Mr Richards said if the project had the support of southern
farmers, it would receive another $10 million investment from
outside the region, including investment from Dairy NZ. The
shortfall would be covered by a loan.
''We need the Southern community to buy into this project ...
because the benefits of this will be good for everyone
long-term,'' he said.
By last week, the group had received 70 responses from
''We have had a good start to this, but we need them all,''
Mr Richards said.
The dairy hub would create about five to six full-time
positions in the farming operation, as well as other
positions in research and training.
The instigators aimed to have it operational by June 1, 2016.
The new farm would replace the Southland Demonstration Farm
situated on a leased 295ha property near Wallacetown. The
lease expires in 2016 and the owners planned to bring family
back on to the farm, Mr Richards said.
When that demonstration farm was set up in 2007 it did not
perform well, but when the governance and management were
separated about three years ago, the performance started to
improve, he said.
Demonstration farm business manager Stacy McNaught said the
farm was now performing in the top quartile in the Southern
region (from Dunedin south), producing 1420kg milk solids per
hectare, or 490kg milk solids per cow, this season.
By Petrina Wright.