Brad Hancock of Hancock Farms


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2024 Waikato Finalists: Brad Hancock of Hancock Farms – Dairy Support

The management of Hancock Farms is both efficient and flexible – resulting in a great example of what can be achieved on a medium-scale, intensively farmed dairy support operation. 
Brad Hancock is the fourth generation of his family to farm in the Paterangi area, meaning he has a strong connection to the land. The original family farm was purchased in 1977 and expanded over time to the 170ha (156ha effective) property it is today.  
Careful strategic planning has led to a farming system that is profitable, efficient and flexible. At the same time, the farm’s environmental impact has been reduced through a targeted use of fertilisers and crops. 
Currently milking 415 cows, the farm features covered feed pads and a herd home which enables cows to be fed and kept under cover whenever required. Just 130ha is used as a milking platform, with the remainder used as a support block and, ultimately, very little external feed is needed. This care of the animals is paying off, with each cow producing an average 450kg of milk solids. 
Brad is continually striving to improve the land’s condition and since 2018 has developed a wetland which filters a 60ha drainage network. Fully fenced and planted in native trees, the area will eventually create a bird corridor to an historic stand of protected native bush. In addition, 3.5ha has been retired and planted in native trees and shrubs, predators are actively managed, and many riparian borders have been created.  
The judges were impressed with Brad’s use of technology for water monitoring, and soil and animal management. For example, he’s installed automated drafting gates which – combined with digital ear tags – have significantly reduced workload. 
Years of trial and error at Hancock Farms has culminated in an efficient system that is profitable while enhancing the environment for generations to come.

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