Ambitious Chile Plans for Dairying Kiwis

NEW ZEALAND - A Kiwi-Chilean farming investment joint venture has plans to milk one per cent of the South American country's cows.
calendar icon 20 November 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
NEW WORLD: Waikato-based Chilterra investors Gary Stokes. left. and chairman Mike McBeath survey a shed being built on a Chilean farm.

Chilterra, a vehicle made up of New Zealand and Chilean investors, is operating or converting three dairy farms totalling more than 1000ha and has plans to convert another 2500ha in the country's Osorno dairying region that would allow it to milk 11,000 cows.

Only recently fenced, the property is yet to be fully developed and has been used only for wintering dry cows while the group concentrates on converting a 374ha property, Ridales, to pasture-based dairying.

Ridales, about 100km from the southern dairying town of Osorno, was previously a mixed operation with large areas in native bush. Eighteen months of work has seen much of this cleared and ryegrass sown, with a large calf-rearing shed and 54-bail rotary dairy shed currently being built. The farm is owned by a Chilterra subsidiary made up of 14 investors, including five Chileans.

Chilterra chairman Mike McBeath, a Karapiro-based farm consultant, said relatively cheap land had lured investment groups like Chilterra to Chile. But rising world-wide commodity prices and speculation on increasing numbers of Kiwi buyers had pushed up prices by between 30 and 100 per cent in some areas in the last couple of years.

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