About Us Rearing high-quality
calves since 2003.

Our story began in 2003 when we bought our first 40-hectare block to rear calves. We had both grown up on dairy farms and were keen for our young family to grow up in a similar rural environment.

When we started, we were rearing 1,400 calves in spring, and now rear more than 7,000 calves across autumn and spring.

In 2005 and 2018, we purchased parts of neighbouring properties and now own 92ha at the home farm, milking 280 cows for winter milk supply to Fonterra, which complements our calf-rearing operation.

Our run-off block, The Lake Farm, was purchased in 2015 to give us more space in which to graze our calves. We have also set up a boutique lodge on this property with stunning views over Lake Karapiro, Maungatautari Mountain and rural farmland.

Top Notch Calves is proudly owned and operated by Jonathan and Joanne Leigh. The Leighs, along with their three children (Cameron, William, Beckie) and the Top Notch team, love calf rearing and the lifestyle it brings.

Jon and Joanne Leigh

Joanne Leigh
Business Manager

Jonathan Leigh
Operations Manager

Meet the rest of the Top Notch Calves team

John Van Gog
Farm Manager

Ryan and Lisa Grant
Dairy Farm Managers

Sam Palmer
Senior Calf Rearer

Karyn James
Senior Calf Rearer

Glen McMillan
Calf Buyer/Truck Driver

Alison Wright
Senior Calf Rearer

The New Zealand dairy industry is relatively disease free and we always strive to ensure biosecurity remains a top priority. Our farming operations (including farm tours) are run according to our biosecurity policy, ensuring we are constantly working toward reducing the risk of diseases, weeds and pests entering, spreading, or leaving our farm.

Or exceptional system sets calves up for success in their lives and has been developed during our farming lifetime – over 25 years! Key steps along the Top Notch Calves way include:

  • We always begin with a quality calf (we either buy or rear a strong, healthy calf who has had good colostrum).
  • Calves are then reared in our purpose-built facility, which has been specially designed to protect calves from wind and rain, while still allowing good airflow.
  • Every calf goes through our robust Animal Health Programme. We have strict vaccination protocols to protect calves from disease and focus on picking up any animal health issues at an early stage.
  • We always use high quality feed (milk, meal and pasture) and clean water.
  • We employ a team of people who care about our calves and we provide a fun, supportive work environment. We love to see our staff growing in their roles and responsibilities.
  • Any changes in the calves lives, e.g. weaning, is done slowly and with thought and consideration.
  • We care for our land and are always striving to be more sustainable in all aspects of our business (environment, financial, people).
  • We like to build close, long-term relationships with clients and suppliers.

We have a range of close business relationships, here are a handful that we do business with regularly.

Seales Winslow (for all our calf meal requirements)
Tirau Vets (animal health)
Fonterra, Open Country Dairy and Miraka (milk supply)
Blue Grass Contracting (milk and cultivation/harvesting requirements)
Peach Teats (milk teats)
Farmsource (farm supplies)
Carrfields (calf supply)
Wrightsons (calf supply)
Livestock Marketing (calf sales)
Findlay Livestock (calf sales)