In 2010 We Decided to increase our commercial cow herd from 300 Angus cows to 1000.

In order to enable us to carry this number of cows on the same acreage, we started the construction of a feedlot. The idea was to wean the cows onto the feedlot in mid March and feed them there for five months. While they are confined there, the feed they would have been eating out on the hills would accumulate, providing a large bank of saved pasture for the cows to calve on.


   The Stud cows never go near the feedlot as it is           important that they are evaluated on grass



Work started in October 2010 and took two and a half years using our own labour and a digger contractor. Builders built the implement and hay sheds and helped us with the large areas of concrete.

The first cows went on to the feedlot in June 2012


    Last spring (2018) we calved down 1120 cows


  Huge Macrocapas covered the site 

 A large Chipper was brought in to turn                      the logs into  bedding chips

Macrocarpa Chips 1m deep provide ideal                               bedding 

 Placing feed troughs.

Loading Sweetcorn silage into the

                     feed mixer

Feed pad & dung collection area                            finnished.


Crushing quarry rock on farm.

Placing one of the water troughs

      Processing crushed metal for concrete


First load of concrete for feedpad

Mixing concrete in 3cu m mixer bought on TradeMe

Placing one of the water troughs

  These butt end logs had to be blown up to reduce                     their size for chipping

 Building the silage bunkers

View of feedlot from nearby hill

Pouring the silage

    bunker floor.

        Building the bridge

Commercial Waimata cows waiting to be fed

Handling the effluent

This pump is used to pump effluent to the top of a nearby hill using 6" galvanised pipe bought 2nd hand on TradeMe. 

The vertical lift is 140m.From there it is gravity fed down to the maize paddocks.


 No.3 Effluent pond 140 metres above No.1 Pond

 No.1 pond just about finnished.

Winching concrete up the

 hill to pour thrust blocks

Digging No. 2 Effluent Pond.

We struck Papa rock while building No.1 effluent pond - at least it won't leak!

The Pump Shed by main pond - No.1

Mud has proved to be a major problem in winter. Wood chips worked very well for a while but soon began to deteriorate. The under pad drainage system soon blocked and the chip pads turned to deep mud. Each summer we had to dig out the old beds and replace them with new bedding. This was a very expensive exercise and after several years of this we decided to "bite the bullet"and concrete the pens. Getting ready mix concrete trucks in would have been far too expensive so we opted to use Waipaoa river shingle instead of conventional builder's mix. Bulk cement was imported from Thailand which was considerably cheaper than local cement. We used a digger to mix the concrete right where it was going to be placed.


 Waipaoa river shingle


Mixing 1 ton bag of cement with a measured amount of river shingle


 Dave Thornton placing the mixed concrete


A non slip surface was created by driving an ATV over the wet concrete

After a couple of years we decided to increase the carrying capacity of the Feedlot

The new area was designed to accommodate another 200 cows. It became known as AREA 51


   Simple mistake - could have                   happened to anyone !

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