ABOUT RAKAIA
ISLAND

Family-owned, family values

FARMING FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

Rakaia Island is a large farming operation in Canterbury, owned by the Turner family. The business comprises six Dairy Units and a Dry Stock Unit, run as one farm in two locations: Rakaia Island and Woodstock.

The evolution of Rakaia Island

Founding Directors Doug and Dave Turner grew up on a North Canterbury dairy farm. Before they began dairying themselves, they gained off-farm experience: Dave in Rural Banking, Doug became a qualified Diesel Mechanic. But dairying always remained their passion.

In 1980 Dave and Doug formed a share milking partnership – taking every opportunity to expand the business. The hard work of Margaret and Helen Turner has been an essential factor in the growth of the business, along with invaluable support from extended family.

In 1994 Rakaia Island near Southbridge was purchased, gradually irrigated and converted from sheep and beef, to four Dairy Units. Rakaia Island is where the bulk of dairy operations take place. In 2005 Woodstock Farms near Oxford in North Canterbury, was purchased and converted from sheep, to two Dairy Units and a Dry Stock Unit.

Rakaia Island

– Four Dairy Units
– Wintering runoff
– 2015-2016: Over 2.5 million kgMS
– 34 full-time staff
– 5500 KiwiCross cows

Woodstock

– Two Dairy Units + Dry Stock Unit
– 900ha
– 2015-2016: Over 1 million kgMS
– 20 full-time staff
– 3000 KiwiCross cows
– 2500 young stock – KiwiCross

PEOPLE
PEOPLE
PEOPLE
We are proud farmers: proud of our people, cows, pasture and environment.
Our shared values foster a feeling of family - a sense of belonging, and respecting each other to do what is right. Rakaia Island staff are passionate about making things better every day; ‘making it happen’.
As a forward-thinking farming business we are committed to continuous learning, being leaders and respecting each other within the business. Individual contributions are recognised and leadership opportunities provided to progress in the dairy industry, with training and support from the Operations team and Turner family.
PASTURE
PASTURE
PASTURE
Rakaia Island uses a seasonal, simple and sustainable pasture-based system.
Rakaia Island has a 2275 hectare milking platform, and 4700 hectares of support land. We run a proactive pasture renewal program, always seeking out pasture-related technology to continually develop the pasture and the people managing it.
Rakaia Island strives to achieve maximum quality from the resources available, whilst employing an integrated approach. The main emphasis is on sustainable pasture management, and the biological systems that contribute to growing grass. Actions implemented to help achieve pastures of the highest quality, include:
• Advanced nutrient management using Ravensdown pasture programmes & Smart Maps
• Weekly monitoring of pasture cover
• Strategies such as ‘mowing in front’, to maximise cow health & pasture residuals
• Effective irrigation management
COWS
COWS
COWS
Quality milk is the final result of having happy, healthy cows.
We don’t think of our cows as milk-making machines – their welfare is very important to us. Rakaia Island’s pasture-based system has a strong focus on maximising cow health. Our holistic approach includes providing nutritious, high-quality pasture, ‘mowing in front’ to help maintain pasture quality.
Rakaia Island runs 9000 KiwiCross cows across six Dairy Units in Canterbury, all with high-quality milking systems. The Dairy Support Unit is based at Woodstock near Oxford, which raises approximately 2000 replacement heifer annually, and runs a small beef herd.
In the 2015-2016 season, Rakaia Island prided itself on supplying 3.5 million kilograms of quality milk to Fonterra.
ENVIRONMENT
ENVIRONMENT
ENVIRONMENT
All development decisions take into consideration the preservation of native trees and bush.
Rakaia Island has many unique features, and extensive areas of kowhai and manuka trees. Within the Turner’s tenure, Rakaia Island has undertaken an ongoing preservation program and is proud to have retained the remaining stands of virgin native bush, by maintaining the buffer zone around the entire island.
IRRIGATION
IRRIGATION
IRRIGATION
Effective, environmentally responsible irrigation management.
All Rakaia Island irrigation decisions are made to maximise pasture output, whilst minimising environmental impacts. All water usage is monitored by telemetry (wireless remote access) and irrigation is allocated accordingly.
The initial border dyke irrigation has been superseded by the more effective and precise pivot and sprinkler irrigation systems, and extensive fixed post irrigation has been used to preserve the areas of native kowhai trees pivots cannot access.
FIND OUT MORE
FIND OUT MORE
FIND OUT MORE
Contact Rakaia Island today to find out more.
  • I like that it is family owned… Everybody is valued and there’s loyalty to the people in their business.

    Jared Porter Unit Manager, Dairy 1

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