Farming Operations

Dairy Operations

Our dairy business operates thirteen milking sheds on our historic Woolnorth property, five at Togari and a further seven in the wider Circular Head area.  We currently milk approximately 19,000 cows with a mix of Autumn and Spring calving.  In the year to 31 May 2013 the business produced 6.22 million kilograms of milk solids. 

The Woolnorth operations run twelve rotary dairies and one herringbone dairy.  The largest, an 80-bale rotary platform, milks up to 1,800 cows. Currently five of the dairies are run by variable order sharefarmers and eight are run as managed farms.  Since 2010 there has been a significant shift in milk supply patterns on Woolnorth with most of the dairy cows now calving in Autumn.

The five Togari operations run herringbone dairies.  Currently three of the Togari farms are variable order sharefarmed and two are managed.  All Togari farms calve in Spring.    

The seven remaining farms also operate herringbone dairies.  Two are run by variable order sharefarmers and five are run as managed farms.  All these farms also calve in spring.

All our dairy farms supply Fonterra, a leading multinational dairy company and the world's largest exporter of dairy products.

Non Dairy Operations

In addtion to its dairy farming operation, VDL operates a Heifer Rearing Unit and a Dairy Support and Development Unit.

The Heifer Rearing Unit operates on approximately 2,500 hectares of pastoral land on Woolnorth that has been developed from native heath between 1994 and 1998.  The unit is responsible for rearing calves from 100kgs until they return to their farm of origin prior to their first calving.  Presently the unit looks after up to 10,000 dairy heifers at any one time.

VDL also runs a Dairy Support and Development Unit.  This Unit has two main purposes;

  1. To play a significant role in supporting the dairy operations, by providing supplementary feed and agistment services on land not presently used for milking cows.  This allows the dairy units to focus solely on milking cows whilst allowing the company to be partially self contained for agistment and supplement.
  2. To lead the large development program within the company.  The objective of the development program is to build additional strength and sustainability by enlarging existing dairy platforms and adding additional milking sheds onto dairy able land within the group.