Many Manawatū dairy farmers are taking a cautious approach before buying land.
Feilding real estate agent Peter Barnett, owner of NZR, said farmers had a lot to contend with the past few years and were wanting to process some of this before buying.
“They are watching Horizon’s regional council’s One Plan, and the Labour-led Government and the Greens who talked about the impact of farming on water quality. As well after several poor return years, dairy farmers are consolidating and paying off debt.”
He said the early season drought had also been a distraction.
“I struggled to take photographs of properties in the wet spring, then in November and December in the dry dust.”
Barnett said well located and top farms were still attracting good inquiries.
“We have a finishing farm for sale at Marton, and have had extraordinarily good interest in it.”
He said buyer inquiry was strong because it was in a good location and there was little else around that was similar.
Only a few sheep and beef farms had come on the market.
“We have seen strong sales and most have been right through the east coast, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa mainly. In Manawatū we just haven’t had the quantity to test the depth of the market here.”
Barnett said there were also only a few dairy farms on the market, while people watched and waited.
Nationally about 80 dairy farms sold in the last three months of last year, including three sold locally.
“But there is an increase from dairy farmers in looking at buying a dairy run-off. A run-off can be around 50 to 200 hectares”.
“It is driven in part by concern about the disease Mycoplasma bovis. Many dairy farmers are thinking about having their own property for young stock and cows wintering over rather than sending them out to graze with other stock.”
Barnett said it was a tricky prospect, as farmers were concerned about the impact of the disease, but it might be beneficial for some of them selling property.
He said the inquiry for dairy farms had been good if they weren’t too big and were good properties.
Farm buyers were often in a strong financial position after selling a property or wanting to expand.
“But many people are prepared to wait. There is no rush. Some people with dairy farms are focussed on paying off debt. Others are watching to see how the One Plan pans out and they want to see what attitude the Government has to the rural sector.
“This wait-and-see issue is just a moment in time, part of a normal market cycle and as confidence builds again dairy farm demand will strengthen again”
In Manawatū, Horowhenua and Rangitītikei seven properties were sold the past three months. In the same period last year, there were 20 farm sales.
By: JILL GALLOWAY