Our farm is called "Peelview Farm", a name we inherited from the previous owners. The name may have something to do with the fact that Mt Peel is more or less the farm’s back yard.
Bryan and Jackie converted the farm into an organic dairy farm after they purchased it as a sheep and beef farm in 1999.
The Clearwaters are committed to the organic principals of farming, producing certified organic milk. After 14 years on the present farm the benefits of the "soil-foodweb science" are becoming increasingly noticeable, through animal health, farm yields and milk quality. Soil-foodweb science is about comprehensive nutrition to soil fungi and bacteria, creating better water holding capacity, carbon sequestration and enhanced soil health.
The restoration of the stream in its natural bed and extensive planting of native vegetation around the stream and on the farm are examples of ways in which we are reducing the impact of our farming activities and work towards enhancing the environment. As the native planting in the fenced off areas is gaining, there is a noticeable and ongoing increase in bird life and biodiversity on the farm. (Not always to our delight…as the large pukeko families can be quite mischievous)
We welcome anyone who would like to visit our farm and find out what we do and how we do things. Please give us a ring 03 6963553, or email info@clearwaters if you wish to visit.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Do you use palm kernel?
A. We see the use of palm kernel as something out of line with our aims and objectives, so no we don't use it.
Q. Could you please tell me how long your calves stay with their mothers before they are removed?
A. Our calves stay with their mothers long enough to get a good feed of colostrum, are cleaned up and dried out, before being brought inside. Always within 24 hrs. Any longer and the bonding becomes so strong that the stress at separation increases disproportionately.
Q. Are any calves kept on farm for herd replacements?
A. Yes. Most farms in NZ average a 20% replacement rate. Sometimes we keep more than that depending on market demand and management requirements. From our 200 cows we would keep 50 replacements.
Q. When are calves sold off the farm and for what purpose?
A. 75% of our cows calve in Spring (August 15th start ). Fresian bull calves and Beef breed calves are reared to an age agreed to by the purchaser to be grown out for the bull beef market. All other calves need to be at least four days old and weigh between 13 and 20 kg, and sold as bobby calves for the white meat veal market. 25% of the herd calve in Autumn (April 1st). Because we currently have a contract for the purchase of our Red Devon X calves - all calves go to that farmer.
Q. Do you see any signs of stress in the mothers after the calves are removed?
A. For the greater average yes . A small group have no expression of the maternal instinct. Cows give birth in the paddock. When the calves have been licked clean and dry and had a feed or two of colostrum from the mother, they are collected into a trailer behind a four wheel motorbike and are moved at walking speed to the cow shed with the mothers following behind ..separation occurs at the cowshed. Calves go to the calf shed. Cows are milked. Colostrum from this and the next seven milkings is kept separate to feed calves.
Q. Could science bring cows into milk with producing unwanted calves?
A. Possibly. Perhaps every calf should be a wanted calf.