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MAY 2020

BEEFING UP Building farm flexibility for threats and opportunities

Helping New Zealand farmers produce the best beef for nearly 80 years.



ACVM No’s: A000934, A011311. AVAILABLE ONLY UNDER VETERINARY AUTHORISATION. ACVM No’s:, A007886, A009028. Schering-Plough Animal Health Ltd. Phone: 0800 800 543. NZ/C10/0320/0001. © 2020 Intervet International B.V. All Rights Reserved Ref 1: Baron Audit Data. December 2019.


Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

For nearly 80 years, MSD have been developing vaccines for New Zealand farmers. We have a complete range of vaccines to help improve performance in your beef cattle – vaccines that help protect against clostridial diseases including sudden death syndrome, Tetanus and Pulpy Kidney, and Salmonella – to name a few. Not all vaccines available are made specifically for New Zealand’s unique farming conditions. Our beef vaccines: Covexin® 10, Multine®, Multine® B12 and Salvexin® +B are. So when choosing the right vaccine for your stock, ask yourself – is this vaccine made locally for my conditions? Or, better still, ask your animal health advisor.



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May 2020






Quality not quantity spending


s New Zealand enters the fifth week of lockdown the focus needs to shift to the economy and people’s livelihoods. The Government is flat out pumping money into the economy to keep the wheels of commerce turning. It says salary subsidy claims will be audited but will they and how many will be prosecuted? Before Covid-19 (C19) the Government announced an extra $12 billion for infrastructure, mainly road and rail. Since C19 the Government earmarked another $12b to support business and help retain jobs. The economic stimulus package has been expanded by another $16b which includes tax relief and finance guarantees.  At the start of C19 public debt was US$57.4 billion and growing. With the extra spending and a falling currency against the US dollar, the debt will grow even faster. It is good to see politicians and government chief executives take pay cuts, but it is going to take a lot more than that. Government departments, local and regional councils need to stop tax increases and start reducing costs.  Councils need to redo annual plans and practice zero budgeting. Start with a clean sheet and justify every cost. Any use of taxpayers’ money needs to be well-targeted, quality spending which gives a good return. Invest in roads not rail or cycleways, technology not stadiums or waterfront developments. Would the lockdown have been possible if the Government in 2008 had not decided to invest in broadband fibre across the country?

One way to crank up the economy is to encourage farmers who have a solid reputation for innovation and improvement. After persecuting farmers and encouraging an antifarming crusade for the past two and-a-half years, the Government needs to make the sector feel loved. The Government should scrap its virtue-signalling zero carbon target. Drop restrictive centralised environment legislation and leave it to and trust regional councils and communities to sort out, as they do a good job. Individuals with skin in the game run successful businesses not Governments and their officials. Leave the money in taxpayers’ pockets and let them grow the country’s wealth. The Government can help businesses by removing the red tape, overriding the Resource Management Act and investing in worthwhile projects such as irrigation schemes. Is it time to resurrect the Ruataniwha scheme? Like the theme for this issue, the country needs to beef up the economy to handle unforeseen threats and be ready to take advantage of opportunities. 

Terry Brosnahan Got any feedback? Contact the editor: or call 03 471 5272 @CountryWideNZ


On Farm Bull Sale 35 two year old bulls


675 Taringamotu Road, RD 4, TAUMARUNUI 3994 p: 07 896 7211 m: 027 690 2033 e:

All bulls libido tested and semen evaluated

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May 2020


Inspection and enquiries always welcome


Country-Wide Beef is published by NZ Farm Life Media PO Box 218, Feilding 4740 General enquiries: Toll free 0800 2AG SUB (0800 224 782)

EDITOR: Terry Brosnahan | 03 471 5272 | 027 249 0200 PUBLISHER: Tony Leggett | 06 280 3162 | 0274 746 093 SUB EDITOR: Andy Maciver | 06 280 3166 DESIGN AND PRODUCTION: Emily Rees | 06 280 3167 Jo Hannam SOCIAL MEDIA: Charlie Pearson | 06 280 3169 WRITERS: Andrew Swallow 021 745 183 Anne Hardie 03 540 3635 Lynda Gray 03 448 6222 Robert Pattison 027 889 8444 Sandra Taylor 021 151 8685 Cheyenne Nicholson 021 044 1335 James Hoban 027 251 1986 Russell Priest 06 328 9852 Jo Cuttance 03 976 5599 Rebecca Harper 06 376 2884 PARTNERSHIP MANAGERS: Janine Aish | Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty 027 890 0015 | Tony Leggett | Lower North Island 027 474 6093 | David Paterson | South Island 027 289 2326 | SUBSCRIPTIONS: | 0800 224 782 Printed by Ovato Print NZ Ltd, Riccarton, Christchurch ISSN 2423-0499 (Print) ISSN 2423-0596 (Online)



8 From apparel to masks

43 AI opportunities for farmers

9 Farm life

46 Beef genetics: New opportunities come to light


48 More lucerne needed in the mix

12 Rachael Hoogenboom finds opportunities during lockdown

51 Great potential for beef

13 Paul Burt asks if the world will learn from Covid-19

53 Beef cattle’s benefit to grazing

14 Suzie Corboy reckons dinner can wait


15 Lockdown day brings welcome rain for Mark Guscott

60 Beef cow the bee’s knees

16 Roger Barton encounters unsocial vagaries

BUSINESS 17 Eyes wide open for joint ventures 19 Winter stocking delivers for winning business 22 Online auction options flourish 24 Don’t let Murphy sit at the table 26 Food supply in the spotlight 27 Meating the need 28 Driving the change 29 Flexibility for threats

MARKETS 30 Absorbing constant change 32 Australian beef markets resilient 34 Shaky food service changes channels 40 Grass-fed beef still a winner


Cows work hard on steep hills p56

52 Watching calf prices tumble

56 Cows work hard on steep hills 67 Bow to the humble cow 68 Steps to success 78 Switch to pedigree profitable 80 World Hereford Conference: Quality not quantity 82 Oozing with growth potential 83 Cattle breeding life sizzling 96 Switching things up in the King Country 102 No vaccine shortage

ANIMAL HEALTH 104 The power of balanced stocking policies 106 On the paper trail 109 Coping with drought and virus 110 First drought, now Covid-19 112 Flexibility in animal health 114 Facial eczema can strike beef cattle 116 Body condition scoring

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May 2020

Oozing with growth potential p82

Eyes wide open for joint ventures p17

NEXT ISSUE: JUNE 2020 • Mycoplasma bovis: Can the disease be stamped out? • Future of saleyards: Where to post-Covid-19 and internet sales? • Winter feeding: Feed budgeting, supplement costs, experiences and tips. • Hedging: Using financial and physical strategies to minimise risk. Dairy with a side of beef p130

Still busy at 97 p166

MAY 2020



119 Beef calves give flexibility in Golden Bay

156 Autumn pasture to set up spring

123 New venture focused on consumers

157 Molybdenum the forgotten fertiliser

124 Oversight leads to total reset

159 Setting up to minimise impact

126 Regenerative ag: US gains from system change


127 Regenerative ag: Missionaries from abroad

162 Beefing up a dairy business

128 Right bull can lift weights by 45kg 130 Dairy with a side of beef


134 Canada: Against the grain with grass-fed

166 Still busy at 97



139 Rating makes bull buying easier

168 Answering farmers’ needs

140 Tips for buying bulls online 141 Resilience in the face of Covid-19


142 Global opportunities for improvement

176 NZ Breeders Directory

144 Genome editing: Potential to reshape agriculture

184 Uncertainty over onfarm sales

146 Better genetics can bring big rewards



187 Country-Wide photo competition entries

BEEFING UP Building farm flexibility for threats and opportunities


Do we have your email address? In the unlikely event that we can’t print or deliver a magazine to your letterbox, we can still deliver your favourite magazine electronically. If you’re not already receiving our e-newsletters, make sure we have your email address connected to your subscription by calling us or using the form on our website. 0800 224 782

148 Creating a healthy, happy union 155 Soaking up the knowledge

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May 2020



From apparel to masks


ifestyle clothing company Untouched World has turned to making face masks out of Merino wool during the Covid-19 lockdown. The Kiwi-owned business has diverted its entire manufacturing capacity from clothing to protective wear. When a shortage of personal protective equipment became apparent due to the rapid spread of Covid-19, Untouched World chief executive and ex registered nurse, Peri Drysdale, thought about how she could help. The company started working with Callaghan Innovation to test best options for comfortable and high-performing protective wear. Masks hit the market first and the company is now working on adding protective gloves to the range. The existing Ecoprotect mask range

consists of two styles for varying levels of protection: a simple, double-layer surgical style Pleat Mask and a technical Helix filter mask. Drysdale said while Ecoprotects were designed to protect the user by reducing the chance of exposure to droplets from breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing, the Helix could capture more than 80% of airborne particles three micron or larger, using the same technology scientifically developed for industrial, medical and respiratory health sectors. Using two filters at once increased filtration levels by up to 95%. Wearing a mask also served as a great reminder not to touch your face and in the long term the masks could be used to keep pollution out and to keep wearers warm. The masks were unusual in that they were machine-washable and reusable.



Former Silver Fern Farms executive employees have been dealt hard lessons on running a business. The former SFF chief executive Keith Cooper placed the Dunedin company Miller Creative Group into liquidation just prior to the lockdown, blaming it on Covid-19. Cooper and his brother John took a 52% shareholding in Miller Studios in 2016. Cooper became the managing director and rebranded the 103-year-old business. In January this year, former SFF general manager of sales Grant Howie, who worked under Cooper, closed meat operations at his company, Fisher Meats. The 100-year-old Dunedin business employed 13 people. He retains a plant-based meat alternative operation. Cooper resigned from SFF in 2014. He was paid between $1.84 million and $1.85m according to the co-op’s 2015 annual report. The payment included his long service and significant contribution to the meat company. He had been paid $960,000-

Could the aftermath of Covid-19 hold a silver lining for beef producers? Beef’s a great source of dietary zinc and adequate zinc is vital for a healthy immune system, yet older adults’ blood is frequently low in this essential mineral making them more susceptible to colds, flu, and, one would suspect, Covid-19. For example, a 2016 USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre study found pneumonia 50% higher in nursing home residents with low blood zinc than those with normal levels. US Beef Magazine highlighted these findings early in the pandemic. If justified, it would be good to see similar promotion by the New Zealand industry’s marketing bodies.


Keith Cooper.

$970,000 in the year ending September 2014. Cooper was chief executive for eight years. SFF debt levels rose from $110m to $380m from 2011 to 2013 and management were criticised for poor decision-making. SFF sold a half share to Chinese company, Shanghai Maling in 2017 for $263m to pay off debt.

HIERACIUM HEADS-UP Results from a Sustainable Farming Fund study into how well five hieracium biocontrols released 20 years ago have established and are working will be among webinars in Landcare Research’s annual Biosecurity Bonanza, May 18-22. See

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May 2020


THE PLUMBER Bored after months of ‘droughtstricken North’ set-stocking, my dogs, Stig and Joy, split the mob, like marbles dropped on glass, then rounded up 50 bellowing steers and moved them toward the gateway of Stamp-Sized Paddock. On my FFS command (translated as, ‘come here and stop messing around’) barking ceased. The dogs barrelled to me, tongues lolling, bellies muddied. Mud? Looking upslope, I saw a road-width ‘L’ stripe of green grass, surrounded by brown pasture. Perhaps an L-shaped rain cloud parked there at night. Perhaps there’s a spring I’ve never noticed. Perhaps… There sure as hell aren’t any water pipes up that way. I pictured all the bloody water issues I’d been fixing all summer. Pictured every kilometre of black alkathene pipe feeding troughs throughout the 100-acre cattle block. There couldn’t possibly be any more surprises. My cell phone vibrated on my backside. “Can we use the chainsaw?” My 12-year old had a just-asking-forice-cream tone. “And there’s a huge water leak up the hill.” His tone

“We need to spread out and stick together,” Hereford stud breeder Paul Scott says on his Matatoki stud’s Facebook page in the light of the Covid-19 restrictions. At times like these, St John’s are the unsung heroes, he adds, and so he’s going to give them $100 for every bull he sells this season. “I challenge all other registered Hereford breeders to do the same.” Good call, Paul.


turned indignant. “Right where we want to build a tree house.” The dogs took off after the steers. “No!” I yelled down the phone. And at the dogs. And at yet another water problem. That night, my brother came to stay, avoiding lockdown in the city, and blocked the kitchen sink. I disconnected the U-bend. “Bugger me,” he exclaimed. “You’ve become quite useful since moving to the country.” “Yep.” I wiped sludge on to a heart-shaped patch on my work jeans. “Farmers are basically plumbers.” – Mary Hamilton.

Hope they do a better job with Covid-19

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May 2020

Engaging in an online livestock auction for the first time is an eerie experience: there’s none of the auctioneers’ banter, no background whiff of livestock, and certainly no catch-up at the saleyard’s café or auction hosts’ improvised bar for refreshments after. It’s going to take some getting used to, which suggests the future for traditional sales methods, when they resume, is secure for some time yet.


An Arab Sheik was admitted to hospital for heart surgery, but prior to the surgery, the doctors needed to store his blood type in case the need arose. As the gentleman had a rare type of blood, it couldn’t be found locally, so, the call went out. Finally a Scotsman was located who had a similar blood type. The Scot willingly donated his blood for the Arab. After the surgery, the Arab sent the Scotsman as appreciation for giving his blood – a new BMW, diamonds and US dollars. A couple of days later, once again, the Arab had to go through a corrective surgery. His doctor telephoned the Scotsman who was more than happy to donate his blood again. After the second surgery, the Arab sent the Scotsman a thank-you card and a box of Quality Street chocolates. The Scotsman was shocked that the Arab did not reciprocate his kind gesture as he had anticipated. He phoned the Arab and asked him: “I thought you would be generous again, that you would give me a BMW, diamonds and money... but you only gave me a thankyou card and a box of Quality Street. To this the Arab replied: “Aye laddie, but I now have Scottish blood in ma veins.”



Celebrating 50 years in New Zealand



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May 2020

Buy your next Murray Grey bull from one of our registered breeders MOONLIGHT B & S Troughton, Matamata • 07 888 7111

WAITAWHETA T Edwards, Waihi 027 966 7540 AONGATETE C & R Lee, Katikati 021 919 093

National Murray Grey Sale 24th - 28th June 2020

FLAX RIVER Z Brake, Whakatane 07 308 4999 CHEQUERS N & J Burke, Whakatane 07 322 2680

RUAPEKAPEKA AD & BI Priest, Hikurangi • 09 433 4703 GLEN KOWHAI D & J Niccolls, Warkworth • 09 433 4703

SEA SPRING A Morgan, Mangakino 07 372 8010

WILLOW GULLY AJ & DL Powell, Auckland • 09 411 8380

MARIRE M Gray, Tokoroa 027 814 2617

VALLEY RIDGE M & R Rawnsley, Papakura • 09 292 5151

BUSHLINE G & L Brown, Owhango 07 895 4867

MARU L & K Ramsey, Pukeatua • 07 872 4891 FILMAREE P & M Atkins, Oparau • 07 871 0524 ONAMALUTUS P Stachurski, Inglewood • 027 441 1622 KOTARE W & J Allerby, Inglewood • 06 756 8162 MANGAOTEA RR & Z Blackwell, Inglewood • 06 927 3565 SIMANDA SIMANDA &A A Tripe, Tripe, Blenheim Blenheim SS & 03 573 573 7493 7493 03 SOUTHBANK SOUTHBANK G& & II Leov, Leov, Blenheim Blenheim G 03 572 572 2760 2760 03

OAKVIEW Allan Hayward, Cambridge 07 827 1847

BROX J Badger, Palmerston North 06 3567932

KINGFISHER D & A Fowell, Manaia 027 484 8438

CUMBERLAND PARK G Preston, Foxton 06 362 7959 ARAWA

GOLDEN CAVES R & M Van Megen, Takaka • 021 155 1353

M J Kilsby & DJ & Kilsby-Halliday,

OPOURI T Payton, Rai Valley 03 571 6391

Levin • 06 368 8415 YORKVALE TW & SW Clarke, Levin 06 368 6132

MURRAY DOWNS S Rodie, Amberley • 03 314 8196

HALDON DOWNS DOWNS HALDON L, G G& &M M Anderson, Anderson, Kaikoura Kaikoura L, 03 319 319 5467 5467 03 CAVAN CAVAN GG & & SK SK Rountree, Rountree, Oxford Oxford GG 03 312 312 4047 4047 03

CLIFTON DOWNS G & B Black, Waikari 03 314 4928

BLUEGUM R Powell, Kaiapoi • 03 327 4357 SHERWOOD RW Driver, Kaiapoi • 03 327 7899

AUBYNVIEW AUBYNVIEW K& &K K Perry, Perry, Leeston Leeston K 03 325 325 4268 4268 03

WAIMAK LN Climo, Kaiapoi • 03 327 6445

SILVER FERN CJ McIntosh, Otautau • 03 225 5884

MELBURY B & J Hallenstein, Ashburton 027 683 8111

NEWHALL RG & JH Hayes, Christchurch • 03 318 1707 STONYBROOK C Brooks, Christchurch • 027 768 9889

TORRISDALE BS MacDonald, Winton • 03 236 2736

75 South Street, Feilding 4702 P: 06 323 4484 E: Like us on facebook: NZ Murray Grey Breeders

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May 2020



Left: At the top of Rocky Mountain Summit Track in Wanaka, overlooking Glendhu Bay and Lake Wanaka.

Opportunity during lockdown Lincoln University agriculture student Rachael Hoogenboom reports on life in tertiary education with the disruption of Covid-19.


y 2020 began working as a crop inspector for Asure Quality in Canterbury, a job which I absolutely loved. I spent my days driving around the beautiful Canterbury region in a company car to a variety of farms where I would walk through seed crop paddocks, searching for any contaminants and identifying weed species. This was an amazing opportunity to meet and communicate with farmers and working professionals, often putting me in a position where I was giving them advice or direction into future actions with their crops that season. In February I was enjoying the sun in Wanaka spending time with friends and family. I even managed to make a trip back home to the Hawke’s Bay to celebrate my 21st birthday, and before returning to Canterbury spent a week being a personal tour guide to my Southland boyfriend Cameron, showing him around parts of the North Island.


By March I had settled into my new flat in Lincoln, launched myself back into the lecture theatres and was ready to tackle my final year of university. My final year papers include a few which are very different to the ones normally seen on my timetable. A new topic for me this semester is focused towards society, culture and the environment and how these factors function together. At the end of March we have all had rather a major curve ball thrown at us! A week before Lincoln students were supposed to be on our midsemester holidays, New LINCOLN Zealand went into lockdown aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19. Some students saw this as an opportunity to get all their assignments completed in the first week, others raced home to get into work on the family farm. Many others going to regions where they would fill the employment gaps from international workers. I’m not one of those, however, and chose to continue living at my flat. I was joined by my younger sister Joanna

who has had a rather interrupted start to university. Joanna not being able to resist my three years of stories and fun at Lincoln, has moved down to study a Bachelor of Environmental Policy and Planning. I know this is a Country-Wide beef edition, but to be honest the only beef that I’ve had anything to do with so far during this lockdown is with Joanna, as we haven’t spent more than a week together in the same house for two years. Although I can’t complain because it’s fabulous to have another sister with me in the South Island and we do have a lot of fun. While Christchurch provided us with some very mixed weather, Joanna and I didn’t let it confine us indoors. We have spent a lot of our time on the walking trails around Lincoln township and checking out the new subdivisions. The kitchen was generally occupied with either of us whipping up some yummy baking goods, Joanna was lucky enough to have a few cooking lessons with me on how to cook for a flat, she’s definitely missing mum’s quality home cooking. This all sounds rather relaxing doesn’t it, but I hadn’t forgotten that I’m a student with plenty of university work to do. An interesting assignment I’m working on is a property investment, where I’m incorporating a free-range chicken farm for the production of eggs into a dairy farm system. Watch this space, the farmers on my selected property may just love this idea! 2020 definitely hasn’t quite brought the chance to get out and experience possible career pathways or the fun, relaxing final year of uni I was hoping for but as it ticks over into May, there are many more months of great opportunities to come. I am absolutely eager and excited for the job-searching process and to take my next step within the agricultural industry. Lastly, I’d like to say a great big thumbs up to the agricultural industry and every single individual within it, for feeding, employing and supporting New Zealand at such a difficult and unprecedented time. It’s definitely a special feeling to be involved in an industry the world cannot do without. 

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May 2020


Trendies give NZ farming a label Ultimately the world will cope with the Covid-19 virus, but will we learn from the experience? Paul Burt writes from Matata.


n all of the years in writing a column for Country-Wide, there has never been a time when the weeks between conception and ingestion will be so momentous. There can be no predictions, the only certainty is that we will be better informed in three weeks’ time than we are now. In a few short months we have witnessed the most successful and sophisticated species in history, shocked to its core by one of the smallest and simplest life forms known. In fact, a virus hardly meets the criteria for a living organism as it is not even cellular and needs a host cell to replicate. Even though it is just a cluster of genetic material in a protein coat, a virus (once it has penetrated a host cell) is clever enough to alter that cell’s biology to begin reproducing the virus itself, potentially overwhelming the host body. Whether you believe nature behaves randomly or is organised, you have to marvel at its opportunism. And it doesn’t stop there, this virus can mutate and evolve fast enough to be especially deadly and difficult to control. Perhaps our downfall as humans will be our arrogance. Despite scientific warnings of irreparable harm, we in the affluent world keep marching forward driven by a culture of excess. By chance or design, nature is showing us it can self-correct. Ultimately, we will cope with this disease, but will we learn from the experience? Crisis often brings clarity, but on the farming front I’m still very confused about the recent ‘discovery’ of regenerative agriculture. I thought I’d been practising it for years with simple,

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

low-input, all-grass meat production that is repeatable year-on-year while enhancing the natural resources of the farm. After 30 years, my mind map of how this farm grows grass is fairly complete. It needs to grow that grass year in year out despite climate, pestilence and economics. On fragile, light, volcanic hill country with low natural fertility the use of phosphate fertiliser and trace elements is not negotiable, but they are measured and nutrient run-off bunds MATATA are in place. The balance of the recipe is infrastructure – fencing and water reticulation. I need to be able to manage grass not only when it grows but also when it doesn’t grow. Our pasture is descended from seeds first thrown from a split jute sack 100 years ago and in our system, it is better economic and environmental sense to look after it than to try and change it. Each hectare produces about 270kg of meat and consumes the following resources onfarm each year. • Fuel for transport and general farm use is about 12 litres/ha (there is no cultivation) • Electricity (the family home, a workshop with fence controller and dog tucker freezer plus two or three shearing days per year) • Water (natural springs are harnessed and if the water was unused it would simply flow out to sea – the pump that pushes to the highest reservoirs is solarpowered) • Weed killer (we spot spray to keep a small gorse problem under control (equivalent to 0.1 litres per hectare)

We in the affluent world keep marching forward driven by a culture of excess.

• Antibiotics. Last year 100ml was used on one animal with an infected hoof. Its use was confined to one animal but extrapolated over all kilos of meat produced there is enough zeros to make the use in parts per million) • Fertiliser. 300kg per ha of sulphur gain superphosphate with cobalt and selenium. All chemical usage follows strict protocols and there is no chance of product contamination. When you add in the reforestation and natural habitat rehabilitation, our family, operating this business would have a more positive environmental impact than the average urban family. The other input of note is sweat and because I want to keep farming into old age, that is up to me. I can simplify the operation more or spend money on other peoples’ skills. After years of fighting the label I now acknowledge my career is a lifestyle. It produces rewards beyond the scope of many businesses, but its economic, physical and natural resources must be managed to produce positive results. Before modern agriculture grassland systems were completely natural and animal migration kept them in balance. To feed a growing population we need much higher output and on our farm it’s my job to balance the unnaturally high introduced stocking rate by manipulating inputs in a manner that is profitable and enhances the wellbeing of the animals and land surrounding them. Our NZ style of hill country grassland farming is the most sustainable way to produce red meat. Regenerative agriculture? I guess the trendies have just given our lifestyle a label. 



Left: ‘We have also been able to feed the heifers and calves much better than previously.’

Dinner can wait Covid-19 lockdown has forced a delay in getting lambs and prime cattle to slaughter. Suzie Corboy reports.


f I had told you six months ago that New Zealand, along with a number of other countries, would be in lockdown you probably would have been asking what I had been smoking or what was Paul putting in my food, but now we have been there. Interesting times. I know it has affected everyone differently. In our 495-hectare bubble we have had to delay shearing our 540 replacement ewe lambs. We are very fortunate we finished shearing the 2000 ewes just one day before lockdown. Of most concern is the OWAKA delay in getting lambs and prime cattle killed, this is going to have a significant effect on pasture cover going into winter. It is usually difficult getting cattle killed at this time of year in a normal year, due to not enough capacity, but it threatens to be stress-inducing this year. As of early April, when I am writing


this, we are very fortunate winter has not arrived yet in the Owaka Valley, but that may well have changed by the time you read this. We have had a fantastic season until Covid-19 inconvenience. We have had rain within a few days of needing it, but not excessive amounts. Unfortunately, we missed out on much summer heat, but on the upside, we had no flystrike problems, despite taking no preventative actions, and some lambs still to be killed have never been crutched. In the past week we have had a few busy days doing animal health tasks on our calves from the once-mated heifers. Our system involves mating heifers at 15 months. Some are home bred, but most are bought as weaner calves. After calving we feed them well, much better than we used to feed our beef

cows, then kill the weaned heifers in the autumn when they still grade as heifer at the works. We then keep the progeny to be fattened or mated the following year. This is the first year we have calved heifers that were bought in, and we have also been able to feed the heifers and calves much better than previously, due to excellent grass growth. This has resulted in the best calves we have had since we started this system, averaging more than 220kg, and the heaviest heifers as well, so the heifers are ready to kill, if only we had some killing space. While the calves were in the yards they got a 10-in-1 vaccine, an oral drench, a copper bolus, an ear mark, EID tag and a management ID tag, then were weighed and put back with mum until we get some space to kill the heifers. Doing these tasks before weaning makes the day of weaning less stressful for us and the calves. They will not need to be head-bailed again as the next oral drench can be done with a hook in the race. We would normally dehorn the calves while they are head-bailed, but due to the new regulations weren’t able to. Thankfully we have been using polled bulls for more than 24 years so have virtually bred horns out of our homebred cattle, but now having to buy in replacement heifers we are facing this task again. Thankfully we only have about five to do out of the 119 calves, and a few from the heifer calves we have bought. Please bull breeders, could you stop breeding bulls with horns! Despite the lockdown I have still had to go to work as an ambulance officer, for two days out of every eight and am the food shopper in the household so I have been outside the farm boundaries, but Paul has not left the farm so far. The worst part is he promised to take me out for dinner after we finished dagging and shearing the ewes, as a reward for me dagging 95% of the ewes, but he reckons he found a good excuse, so no meal out for me yet. Don’t worry, I have a good memory for things like that.

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020


Left: After the rain.

The rain dancing does work Lockdown day was particularly memorable for Wairarapa farmer Mark Guscott and his family.


arch 26, 2020, will long be remembered. It was my longsuffering wife’s 40th birthday as well as the Covid-19 lockdown beginning. She didn’t get to go out a have a long lunch with her friends like she wanted but it will be one of those days that we remember. Maybe like Princess Diana’s death or for the oldies, when the first Moon landing happened. All these words like lockdown, social distancing etc were unbelievable scenarios just a few weeks ago. Going to town feels a bit like those doomsday movies that are all over Netflix now. I ventured out into the unknown the other day on essential business to get quad bike tyres replaced because it’s rained (more on that soon).

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May 2020

I’d spoken to Grant the dealer earlier and he was saying how difficult it was running a retail business when there were no customers. His guys who did the job for me were pragmatic about the crisis and good to deal with as usual, but it got me thinking. We’re lucky enough to be classed as essential services and inside the farm gate it’s almost business as usual. We should do what we can for these rural-based retailers, in fact all the businesses in our rural towns. For me that means paying our bills as soon as we receive them. Don’t wait till the 20th of the following CARTERTON month or whenever you pay your bills. Pay them now. It’ll help pay the wages for the skilled and committed people that we all need. I mentioned we had rain… holy shit, did we ever! 180mm over three days was

a beautiful thing because it was getting tough. I know it was fairly localised to Wairarapa and I feel for the rest of the cockies looking for rain and I’m sorry to gloat, but it was bloody brilliant! Our 800-hectare property was transformed in a just a few days. We’ve just finished weaning the cows a couple of weeks ago and now the focus is turning to the detail of how to winter the cattle we have or should we sell them or find some grazing. The usual carry-on when you don’t have very much suitable ground for wintering cattle. We put our 130 odd Angus cows to a Wagyu bull as part of the FirstLight system. We’ve done this for three years now. The first year we sold the weaners soon after weaning. Second year kept the steers and sold the weaner heifers. This year we’ve got the whole lot and looking to sell the weaner heifers again. There’s a bit of a misconception that Wagyu cattle don’t grow that well. Our 18-month steers are 480kg liveweight, from a 200kg weaning weight. I admit they’ve been priority-fed for their whole life but we’ve just come out of a summer drought, so it hasn’t been easy. They haven’t had any supplement apart from some red clover balage last winter. We have to winter them twice as part of the FirstLight deal but a good chunk of them could be killed before their second winter and that’s a sign that cattle have got the ability to grow well, I think. Couple that with a guaranteed schedule printed months in advance and it’s a good system. More people should look into it. I do wonder about the future of farming any sort of cattle as the wintering isn’t going to get easier. Stony ground works well as far as lack of soil damage goes but the leaching is through the roof. Concrete is expensive and if the gumboot dancers aren’t sure whether it stacks up financially for them, then it sure as hell won’t work for a beef finishing system. Maybe I should stop thinking and get back to work. Keep up the rain dancing, it does work eventually.



Keeping ‘unsocial’ distancing

Beekeepers have been and gone as required.

Wairarapa farmer Roger Barton has encountered some vagaries with being an ‘essential’ industry during the Covid-19 lockdown.


arming under lockdown isn’t a great transition from life as normal. For that farmers should be grateful. Some have made the comment that we are lucky we have been classed as an “essential” industry. With livestock at stake it’s hard to imagine another option. There are, however, responsibilities that go with that. For the limited number of onfarm visits there have been we have instituted our own protocols to protect both parties. Beekeepers have been and gone as required. We have opened all possible gates and left disinfectant at those gates they needed to be opened. Livestock agents have been in as required. It seems more like “unsocial” distancing than social distancing but the respect for this virus has been high. People have played their part in keeping themselves and by default others safe from possible infection. There are, however, a few conundrums. During the worst of the drought, with many hill country farmers having very serious issues with livestock watering capabilities we had digger drivers classified as non-essential. Once again Wellington was making decisions in a vacuum. Having approached an MP with a carefully fact-filled letter over this matter I would have expected the courtesy of a response but none received.


I fail to see the heightened risk of a digger driver operating his machine in splendid isolation verses a team of beekeepers arriving. Once in the digger they are happy with the air con and the radio plus a farm map for guidance. The only risk area becomes gateways for which a standard practice can be taken to protect both parties. Luckily Huey prevailed and we ended up with a seriously good droughtfinishing rain in the Wairarapa. Our tally GREYTOWN of 127mm was at the lower end of the scale for what many received. Apologies to my northern counterparts who missed out. Onfarm we have fed out plenty of balage and barley. Having trained sheep makes this an easy no-stress option and saves pastures from being hacked to death with over grazing. Cows and calves took a bit of pressure and so calf weaning was early with the calves being feedpadded on balage for about three weeks. They got so quiet that they needed to be nudged with the tractor tyres to get them out of the way, until we had a draft up and drenched and coppered the heifers. First race full and the last one up the race gave me one hell of a boot on the outside of my knee. I’ve been paying the price for close to a month. Ligament

damage is slow to repair so it’s been a month of limited work output and quite a lot of pain. We thought our move to a higher percentage of cattle stock units was going to ease the impact on the body! Cow grazing is going to be at a premium this winter. There is very little around here to tidy up so we will have to get a bit creative. I’ve already been break feeding some of our bushfilled main gully where possible. Cows have gained weight since weaning with weather conditions being favourable. Winter will be different. Some years ago one of my farming compatriots lamented that it takes a hard farmer to kill a sheep (feeding wise) but anyone can kill a cow. Early spring will be a testing time I suspect. On another front we have been “doing the right thing” and trying to get a resource consent to tidy up a mass of excess metal in our main stream. Over the latter part of summer this had dried up at this point so an ideal time to act. It seems bizarre that someone who has managed the vagaries of this particular bend for 39 years gets so little respect over what may be needed or appropriate. Oh no, we were going to need a hydrologist’s report at no less than $1500 for the day. To be blunt I’m tired of being used like an ATM by organisations that are meant to be there to work with us. I would have thought that with 243 hectares of QE2 bush plus other areas planted and fenced for stock exclusion that the Greater Wellington Regional council might have some respect for the contribution, but how mistaken are we. The temperament of the farmer and his wife has been below par lately and its nothing to do with being in lockdown.

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The Smiths, young family; Charlotte, Henry and George in earlier days bodes well well for future succession.

Go in with eyes wide open Investing resources and time in a joint farming venture only works for North Otago’s Blair and Jane Smith if they have skin in the game. Terry Brosnahan reports.


aining ownership is why the Smiths took a 50% shareholding in Neil and Rose Sanderson’s local Angus stud Fossil Creek. “If we are going to be involved in something, we need to give it our all and have ownership”, Jane said. They had previous experience with such ventures, including a 50:50 sheep stud in Victoria, Australia. It is a good blueprint for non-farming succession if banks support young people getting on the land. Jane said the most essential part of its success is having transparency and clarity right from the start. Non-family succession has to be more business-like, black and white. She said it doesn’t mean there are no grey areas and emotion involved. “You go in with your eyes wide open, with full commitment from both parties and an opportunity that utilises the strengths of everyone involved”. Neil and Rose approached the Smiths near the end of 2014 after Blair and Jane

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had been farming for seven years. The Sandersons were impressed with the good job they were doing with their Perendale stud, Newhaven. Neil had developed multiple sclerosis. Forming a joint venture meant he could give up the physical work and focus on the genetic side. More importantly the venture would allow the stud to grow and be moved to a higher-altitude tussock block. The Smiths proposed a year’s trial to see if it was a good fit and they could work together. In 2015 they sold all their commercial cows to focus on the stud, and for biosecurity reasons, have no other cattle on the farm. The initial venture was a risk and if it didn’t work the Smiths would have to buy another commercial herd. “It was a risk but a calculated one, but we all had a gut feeling it would work.” For the Sandersons it was a chance to see if the Smiths were up to the challenge. The physical side of wading through tussock and tagging calves at altitude was

demanding but something the Smiths were used to with the sheep stud. The Smiths are good at feeding stock well which isn’t easy in the North Otago environment. Jane said the best outcome after the year’s ‘dry run’ was confidence. “It made us feel certain that it would work long term.” A company was formed with all four directors using their own advisors some of which they shared such as the banker and lawyer. Meetings were held three or four times a year with everything documented and signed off by the advisers. The directors wrote their own memorandum of understanding. Any changes go into the memorandum and are signed off by the advisers. This made sure there was full accountability. “Things that can go unsaid can often be missed in family succession.” There were clear entry and exit policies with key dates for shareholder transactions.

›› Continues p18 17

Above: Jane says it is essential that banks and farmers look at different options to help young farmers into the industry.

Originally the Smiths were going to only buy a 20% holding and gradually increase it over five years, but the venture was working so well they went straight to 50:50. The Smiths recently increased it to 60:40. Jane said after the trial they were all more comfortable with each other and a 50% shareholding made it more clear cut. They all do a bit of everything, so all have a good understanding of the business. They all agree on the same outcome due to their shared goal of producing the best genetics for their clients and the industry. However, they may differ in the ways of getting there. Sometimes there can be four different ways to consider. If they can’t agree then they can have

a formal vote but so far that hasn’t happened. Communication, clarity and transparency are paramount. Every meeting is documented and minutes emailed almost immediately to everyone including the advisory team. Any wider discussion is included in the email. All four have job descriptions and policies have been written up. “From the start we didn’t want too many cooks in the kitchen.” No matter which director a client talks to, each can refer to the policies and answer questions. All know the business well. Getting the finance to buy their shareholding wasn’t easy for Blair and Jane. “Stock only, stud stock are four words banks hate to hear.” One of Jane’s previous jobs had been working for Rabobank so she knew how the banking system worked. Stud stock are valued at commercial rates by the banks. So even though the stud stock cost more than double commercial cattle the Smiths could only borrow up to half of their equity. They knew that would happen from when they bought into the sheep stud. They didn’t want to borrow against their farm, stud and assets. They wanted it to be an independent company and only offered stock as collateral. The bank took the risk because Blair and Jane had a proven track record as did

the Sandersons with Fossil Creek. A major strength was the independent advisory board which included their shared bank manager, both parties’ accountants and when required, their solicitor, Jane said. They were paid no more than their usual professional rate, but instead of eight separate meetings were all sitting in the same room. It was a major strength and comfort to the bank. “You are only hearing from the horse’s mouth no Chinese whispers.” Jane wants banks to support more of these types of partnerships between young farmers wanting to get on the land and farmers wanting to get off or ease back. If leasing is the only option and, stock and plant are collateral, banks need to be more accommodating. “Banks have to take a risk on that, they have to.” A lot of established farmers like she and Blair would be happy to pay an extra margin on interest rates to a bank that supported young farmers, even with their high debt loading. Jane is worried about the trend in the industry for large-scale farmers to land bank, and young farmers to be pushed out by foreign ownership, corporates or a monoculture of pine trees. “People with passion for livestock and land is what drives communities, not urban investors.”

Trust and respect the key The joint-venture company Fossil Creek Angus works well because the four shareholders have a complementary set of skills, Neil Sanderson said. Jane does the books, finances, a lot of marketing. Rose does all the breeding records and performance recording data collection. Neil has 40 years’ experience in pedigree reproduction genetics and Blair is a “machine” at getting the physical work done. They also all get on well and are on the same wavelength. “It makes it easy when everyone is on the same page.” When the venture was formed Fossil Creek had 200 cows, now it has 350. Neil (64) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2015 and that year he and Rose decided to make a change. They agreed with the Smiths to a year’s trial in a share farming venture with the herd.


Rose, Neil, Jane and Blair after a big day in the hill block yards.

“We wanted to feel our way.” Initially the Smiths were to take a 20% shareholding and further 20% stakes over time. The trial went so well the Smiths bought a 50% shareholding. “We just gelled and never had a problem.”

Neil said they approached the Smiths for many reasons. They were a young family, very well respected in the community, so they saw the potential for a long-term future for the herd. “We always hope it will continue and be taken to the next level.”

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Winter stocking delivers olding a winter stocking rate 12% higher than the average for similar properties is helping deliver above average economic farm surpluses for this year’s Kienzley Agvet Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year. Winners Stuart and Jane McKenzie operate Te Rangi Station, 2106 hectares (effective) of medium hill, semi-finishing, summer-dry country in the Whangaehu Valley north of Masterton. It is a class 2 property under BakerAg’s Financial Analysis Benchmarking (FAB) system but has operated at a winter stocking rate of 9.6 stock units/ha on average over the past four years. BakerAg farm consultant Chris Garland said Te Rangi’s financial performance is impressive because it has doubled its annual EFS over the past four years, from $536,000 to $1.1 million. Importantly, EFS has also increased on a per-ha basis. “That’s impressive because it’s happened

during an expansion phase and because it is also occurring over a scale that is almost twice the average for the district,” Garland said. “That reflects a competent level of logistics and man management along with close attention to detail.” Te Rangi’s average revenue is $1064/ha, compared to $962/ha for class average. Garland said this 10% difference is driven largely by the 12% higher stocking rate. Actual operating expenditure over the past four years has averaged $570/ha or 53% of gross revenue on an adjusted basis (fertiliser and repairs and maintenance costs standardised). This compares to the class average of 56%. Reflecting the high level of gearing in the debt structure needed to grow the land area in recent years, interest and rent costs are 44% higher/su than the average at around $29/su. “At 24% of gross revenue in the 2019/20 year, this level of debt servicing is still manageable, but it is dependent on interest rates staying low and revenue levels being maintained,” Garland said.

The Sandersons’ three daughters have all been involved in the stud. “It is great for us to see Blair and Jane’s three kids taking an active role whenever they get chance,” Neil said. “Charlotte (13) is a natural and great help around the stock.” Blair and Jane had good marketing skills. They also had good ethics with marketing Newhaven genetics and skills at record keeping as well as an understanding of performance recording. “Jane’s skills in communication, governance, industry contacts and respect for her are a hard skill set to find.” The Sandersons live on an 80ha block at Ngapara, but have another 350ha hill farm which they have leased out. When Blair and Jane bought a 50% share in Fossil Creek Angus it freed up capital for

Neil and Rose to invest further into an offfarm technology business related to their embryo transplant company. Their hill farm is on the Kakanui hills two farms away from the Smiths’ hill block so they knew it would be a good commercial testing ground. The Smiths run the 350 cows and the weaned bulls go to the Sandersons at 10 months and are sold next year. About 65, two-year bulls are sold each year at their onfarm sale and another 50 sold for breeding as yearlings. All general costs are charged against the business. Blair and Jane charge the company for grazing the cows, the Sandersons for the bulls. Any residual profit is shared. When the Smiths recently increased their shareholding to 60%, the company



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Stuart McKenzie.

Te Rangi’s EFS/ha averaged $385 for the three years from 2017 to 2019, compared with the class average of $317/ha over the same period. Garland said this difference arises from the 10% higher revenue per hectare and the economies of scale that apply over the additional fixed costs of wages of management and depreciation that go into the EFS calculation, which are

›› Continues p21

had to be revalued which they did themselves amicably. Neil and Rose, with having older children, tend to have a little more time to liaise and visit clients which is an integral part of maintaining and solidifying their loyal client base. The joint venture was set up by their accountants Fraser McKenzie, Oamaru and Craig Wyatt, Dunedin. Neil said there is a memorandum of understanding which is updated each year. Egos tended to be a problem in the pedigree world but not with the two couples and they could contribute freely. “There is a lot of trust and mutual respect for each other’s skill sets and integrity, so it makes the day-to-day running of the business very smooth.” 


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May 2020

spread over a larger number of hectares on Te Rangi. Based on a land and buildings value of $8100/ha ($17m), $118,000 worth of plant and machinery and stock value of $4.1m, the return on total capital represented by the $1.1m EBIT is 5.3%. The corresponding figure for the previous financial year is 4.6%. “This result is approximately 8 percentage points higher than the average for this class,” he said. Garland noted Te Rangi’s high sheep to cattle ratio, at 81:19 versus the class 2 average of 70:30 and some potential to increase sheep reproductive performance. Average lambing percentage over the past four years is 136.3% – slightly under the Class 2 average – but Garland said the sheep genetics on Te Rangi are capable of better performance. “Given the high sheep ratio, the potential to improve lamb percentage is a significant opportunity. If Te Rangi’s lambing percentage lifted by 10%, this would generate a further $126,000, adding another $60/ha to gross farm revenue.” Beef financial performance at $98/ cattle stock unit is close to the Class 2 average of $102/csu. But calving percentage has averaged just over 90% for the past four years – 4% higher than the average – and death/missing rate in cattle is slightly lower than average at 1.6%. Farm expenditure is likely to be fleshed out during the field day discussion planned for Te Rangi later this year, Garland said. “For instance, Te Rangi’s per stock unit expenditure on wages and animal health tend to be 16% and 33% higher than the average respectively. This may reflect the higher sheep ratio which is more labourintensive and demanding on animal health inputs.” Another topic for the field day will be average annual spend on fertiliser which is $215,000 or around $11.25/su (on phosphate and sulphur component). This compares with the average spend of $10.22/su for Class 2 properties. “Maintenance fertiliser expenditure for a property of Te Rangi size might be expected to be $262,000 or at least $12 a stock unit. Again, that will be a good topic for the further discussion and explanation at the field day.” • Attention to detail, onfarm profile p68.

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How Te Rangi has performed Description






Effective hectares






Total stock units






Stock units/ha






% sheep stock units






Labour units






Lambing %






Calving %






Sheep deaths and missing %






Cattle deaths and missing %
















Physical Data

Wool per sheep su Revenue ($) Sheep revenue Cattle revenue











Standard Expenditure






Economic Farm Surplus












Animal health























Feed and fodder crops






Gross Farm revenue

Expenditure ($)

Fertiliser and Lime

Weed and pests






Farm Working






Repairs and maintenance


















Rates and insurance






Debt servicing











Gross Farm Revenue






Actual farm expenses






Economic Farm Surplus






Farm Cash Income/ha






Farm Cash Surplus (Deficit)/ha






Ratio of GFR : Land value











Actual Expenses as a % of GFR Per ha


Return on Capital



KEY POINTS: • • Online Helmsman sale with commentary. • Single or multiple vendors. • Auto-extends for last minute bids. • Commission comparable to onfarm or saleyard rates.

Online auction options flourish In the second of a two-part series Andrew Swallow looks at the development of online stock sales.


ovid-19 has driven interest and use of online livestock trading channels to new heights, and agents across the country have been busy promoting the various mechanisms they offer. A new option from South Islandbased Peter Walsh Associates (PWA) is Livebid, an online Helmsman auction with live commentary for the closing half hour. “We want to personalise online selling so it’s something more than sitting in front of a flat screen going ping, ping, ping,” business principal, Peter Walsh, told Country-Wide.


Auctions open typically 48 hours before the deadline for bidding concludes and, once registered, photos, videos, descriptions and prices of lots offered can be viewed and bids placed. Registration is a one-off process so a simple log-in for future auctions. Besides giving potential buyers more time to view lots and place bids, the simultaneous offer of multiple lines or lots in a Helmsman auction allows buyers to switch backwards to lots in the catalogue, as well as forwards. The commentary team come online for the last half hour to discuss the stock offered, auction progress and, for initial auctions at least, the bidding process.

Walsh compares it to the analysis offered by a commentator panel for a sports event. “The aim is to make it come alive and be more interesting. We’re trying to add a bit of character to the process.” PWA general manager Jesse Dargue says Covid-19 created the opportunity to launch Livebid but it will remain an option for sellers even when restrictions eased. “We’ve felt for some time online auctions have a place in the New Zealand industry but what’s been missing is the human side, the familiarity of the auctioneers who can talk about the stock as the auctions are happening. “They can also talk about the online auction process because a lot of this is quite daunting for some people.” Questions can be asked during auctions by using a chatbox online, or by phoning in. Walsh says he doesn’t see Livebid replacing bidr and StockX, which the firm also uses, or spelling an end to saleyard or on-farm auctions: it’s just another option which for some sellers, and hopefully a lot of buyers, will prove to have advantages. About 310 registrations for Livebid had been received when the first auction closed April 17 with 95 viewing online as the auction came to a head at 1.30pm. Bids in the last minute of an auction extend the bidding window by a further minute, and if a bid is placed in that minute, another minute is added, and so on, until bidding ceases. Last-minute bids saw the April 17 auction close at 1.35pm. After the event, Walsh said it was very good for a first run. The only disappointment was they didn’t sell some in-calf R2 heifers. “Everything else sold at least up to expectation.” For full results, and details of upcoming auctions, see • More? See • More online livestock selling p184

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Users pleased with online livestock sales


he Covid-19 enforced closure of saleyards nationwide is driving a surge of interest in online livestock trading platforms such as bidr and Stock X. For many, it’s the first time using, or at least looking at, such sites but some farm businesses have several seasons’ experience of trading through them already. One such outfit is Tuna Nui Station, near Hastings, a 1250-hectare mainly trading stock operation run across two blocks roughly 20 minutes west of Hastings, Hawke’s Bay. “It’s the traceability that you get with Stock X that I like,” operations manager Kieran Wills says. “You know exactly who you’re selling to or who you are buying from.” Kieran Wills. Commission of 2.5% compared to 5% or more through saleyards or agents also appeals, as does secure and swift payment. “If everybody’s happy there’s no waiting two weeks for the funds to come through. If cashflow’s a bit tight, that can be really useful.” The secure aspect comes through Stock X holding payments in a trust account while the deal is physically completed. As a seller, you’re notified when payment reaches the trust account and that’s the cue to release the stock. As a buyer, you know your payment is held by Stock X until you give the all clear that the stock received were as described in the listing. Wills says the station’s had a couple of deals when there was a discrepancy to sort out, one when they bought some ewes and

lambs that weren’t as heavy as advertised due to a seller estimating weights, and another when they unwittingly sold some “Magpie” yearling dairy bulls as Friesians. “We didn’t realise they were part Kiwicross and lower value. [Stock X-agent] Digby went to look at them and we duly adjusted the price. It’s a very good system.” Wills says when selling stock on the platform he frequently gets potential buyers call him to discuss what’s offered, and sometimes they come to view them too. As a seller he photographs and/or videos the stock he’s offering then lists them with a start price, a ‘Buy Now’ price and a reserve. “Stock X can give some guidance on where to set prices.” His advice to new users is to be bluntly honest about what’s for sale. “If you do that, you’ll get a good reputation and do a lot of repeat business.” He’s also used the platform as a buyer, and finds the option to set up alerts for when certain categories of stock are listed useful. “You don’t have to keep going on there to check if anything new has been listed, and if the market’s hot you can get on and get whatever it is you’re after bought, if there’s a buy now price on the listing.” Arranging transport is the buyer’s responsibility. “Typically I ring the vendor and discuss when they want them gone by.” Paul Scott, a South Canterbury Hereford stud breeder, used online platform bidr for his bull sale last year and was planning to

Kellogg study conclusions South Canterbury-based livestock agent Richard Harley studied Australia’s longestablished online livestock sales channel, AuctionsPlus, as part of his Kellogg’s Rural Leaders course last year. It’s now Australia’s largest single market place for sheep and cattle and his study concluded that success could be replicated by an online platform here, to the benefit of all industry stakeholders, improving traceability and efficiency. However, to

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initially gain traction, a successful online platform would need full support of stock agents. “While this is an electronic marketplace, people are at its core,” he wrote. Speaking to Country-Wide recently he suggested the Covid-19 lockdown could catalyse a move to online trading here, but agent involvement remained a key factor in uptake.

do so again this year even before Covid-19 became a factor. “I’m not sure whether the Covid scenario will help or hinder.” His sale is scheduled to run the evening after the regional bull walks, May 20 this year, so even though the auction is online, potential buyers should have had the opportunity to view them in the paddock prior. Good photos and video are key so there’s “a reasonable amount of camera work” preparing for the bidr auction, and, of course, all the normal tests and scans still have to be done, he says. Even though all the bulls’ details are available online, he still produces a catalogue and mails that to potential clients too. Automated text reminders for auctions are sent out by bidr on the day of a sale. Scott says it’s important potential buyers have done their homework before an online livestock auction, especially when buying stud stock, and he’s confident that with good communication and organisation, pre-auction viewing of bulls should still be possible under Covid-19 restrictions. Then, if buyers are happy with what they have seen in the flesh they can bid online in a rational way to ensure they get good value for money, and avoid potentially having to attend a large gathering of people which might be problematic at the moment. “Attending a physical sale can also take a huge chunk of time whereas this auction will run in the evening for half an hour. “I’m hoping more people do start to use [these platforms] so they become more mainstream because there are so many advantages for all concerned.”

“Farmers decide on a daily basis whether to complete all sorts of jobs themselves, or whether it’s more efficient or they’ll get a better result if they pay someone to do it for them, and livestock transactions are no different.” Australia’s agents using AuctionsPlus must complete assessor courses and are graded according to their skill and experience. It’s a standard New Zealand’s industry should aspire to, he added. Harley’s report is available at www. It was released July 2019. 



Don’t let Murphy sit at the table BY: PETER FLANNERY


here’s a bloke called Murphy, and he’s a right pain in the arse. Because of him, and his many laws things don’t always work out the way you plan. However, at least if you have a plan, even if it doesn’t work, over time you will get a better result than those who never had a plan in the first place. Those who don’t have a plan will only get the default result. A manufactured or planned action will generally always deliver you a better outcome. Apparently, there are three types of people in the world. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened. Personally, I think there is a fourth. Those who know what is happening. It is all very well being type One – those who make it happen – but, because there is so much outside of your control Murphy can still play havoc. So, plan to make it happen, and that plan needs to have flexibility built in as a key component. You can’t be flexible without knowledge, and knowledge is power. There is a difference between making an early informed decision as

Below: A farmer who does nothing, and it doesn’t rain can be left with the soul-destroying sight of hungry stock on brown paddocks and getting hammered at the sale yards.


opposed to making a knee jerk decision due to panic. There is knowledge on all sorts of levels. A farming friend of mine once said at his field day it wasn’t until he stopped reading Rugby News and Penthouse and started reading farming magazines that his business really started to improve. That got a laugh from the 400 people attending. A salient message within the humour. A thirst for knowledge on a macro level helps you with your longer-term planning and decision making.

WHAT ABOUT ON FARM DECISION MAKING? Do you know what’s happening? Dairy farmers measure milk production twice a day because of the nature of their system. Generally, they are also very good at measuring grass growth. Again, their farming system allows them to do that. Sheep and beef businesses can’t be as precise in those regards as their dairy farming cousins. However, there are things that can be measured and things that can be observed. Weather stations and soil moisture probes can provide accurate information. Weather forecasting is becoming more accurate. That will allow you know what is happening and help predict what is going to happen. Most farmers will know it is time to act when a particular ridge on their farm starts to dry off. But sadly, that probably falls into the ‘knowing what’s happened’ category. Timing of decision making is key. It won’t always be the right decision in hindsight, but as I said, an early informed decision will generally win over an uninformed late decision. For example, your information tells you that you are going to run out of feed a month before it happens. So, you destock before anyone else starts to act. Cool. Then you get a month’s worth of warm gentle rain and you feel like a dick. It’s that bastard Murphy again. You just have to be flexible enough to work out the second-best way to make money from the surplus feed. Compare that to the farmer who did nothing, and it didn’t rain, and was left

with the soul-destroying sight of hungry stock on brown paddocks and getting hammered at the sale yards. As I said to a client as Covid-19 was impacting on schedules and killing space, farming is not for the faint-hearted. You need knowledge of a wide range of things and then courage to act in accordance of that knowledge, and confidence to be prepared to do something different if required.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR WORKLOAD? There is a saying - the difference between an average farmer and a good farmer is three weeks. Spring is a chaotic time with workload, and changeable unreliable spring weather doesn’t help. At what point do you realise you need to move to Plan B? If you haven’t got time to sow the swedes or new grass yourself do you wait, or do you get help? Do you pick up the phone to ring the contractor two weeks after everyone else or do you read the signs and ring two weeks before everyone else. What are the key dates in your farming calendar that prompt you to commit to Plan A or Plan B. Be flexible in your plan, but firm on your trigger points. As I said at the start, Murphy is a right pain in the arse, but he can be thwarted to a degree. If anything can go wrong, it will. So, have a think about what can go wrong. How likely is it that it will go wrong and what is the impact of that on your business? If it is unlikely to go wrong and if the impact on your business is insignificant, don’t worry about it. Conversely if it is quite probable and the impact significant, then how do you mitigate? How do you reduce the probability and how do you reduce the impact if it does go wrong? If you haven’t even thought about what could go wrong, Murphy will certainly find them for you. To help thwart Murphy, try using the Murphy Matrix on the next page.

BE FINANCIALLY SOUND Finally, you need to be financially sound enough to be flexible. In the 30 years of my rural professional career, I have always said you should never make a decision purely

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The Murphy Matrix Probability of Going Wrong High



Have a deep understanding of what and why things may go wrong and look to reduce the probability. What are the early warning signs and what can you do to mitigate the outcome.

Disaster management. Can the risk be removed completely through hedging or insurance? How strong is your balance sheet to withstand a hit?


Do what you can to reduce the probability and manage the outcome.

Ignore. Don’t spend time worrying about it.

Impact on business

to keep the bank manager happy. It may seem a strange thing to say, but cashflow is not as important as profit. It doesn’t matter when the cash flows, so long as you end up with more than at the start. Timing of buying and selling stock should never be based on the state of your bank account. If that is driving your decision making, you might as well pack up and go home. If it is a bumper season and you have feed to put more weight on your trading stock, then that is what you should do. Selling stock to take the pressure off the

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OD is the exact wrong thing to do. Buying and selling decisions should be based on supply and demand of feed on your farm and the schedule outlook. Not being financially sound enough to be flexible can lead to ‘doubling down’. You think you are going to run out of feed, but you are too scared to make a proactive decision, in case you get it wrong, and you can’t afford to get it wrong. You need to hit your weight targets to make the budget work. So, you take a risk that in reality you can’t afford to take. If you are wrong

through doing nothing, then it is going to go spectacularly wrong. This reinforces the need to have a strong balance sheet to allow you to be flexible. If you can’t afford to deviate from a plan because of cashflow constraints, you need to have a serious look at your business. As Robert Burns said “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry” (or words to that effect). Sometimes you just don’t know what’s coming, which may be just as well – present case in mind. However, you should not just accept things will go wrong and do nothing about it. Most times there is a single or series of events which will invite Murphy to the table. Know what they are, do what you can to prevent, know the warning signs and have a trigger point to put in place plan B. If there’s no fun to be had at your table, Murphy will most likely bugger off and go and pester someone else.  • Peter Flannery is an agribusiness consultant for Farm Plan, Invercargill



Left: Already they cannot buy pasta and are limited for bread – yet the world expects near-record wheat production for 2020.

Food supply in the spotlight BY: ANNA CAMPBELL


ood supply is in the spotlight and rightly so. Food is a “physiological need” – level one of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – above level two, safety and security. The behaviour of supermarket shoppers in a time of crisis demonstrates this at a fundamental level. In our everyday life we take access to food for granted, now we can’t. Some commentators say it’s too early for food producers in New Zealand, to say “I told you so.” The commentators are right, we are under lockdown and feeling raw and vulnerable. As a community we have reached out to our health workers and thanked them, the odd scientist is even getting recognised – these are strange times indeed. For many, it’s time to eat humble pie and thank our farmers as well. Food as the mainstay of our economy will prevail, as it did in the revival from the global financial crisis. Farmers don’t gloat, it’s not in their nature, they will quietly nod in acknowledgement and get on with things – as they have always done.


This crisis has highlighted weaknesses in our food supply system and the more I read, the more I am convinced that it is the food system which requires the greatest scrutiny, rather than farmers themselves – perhaps we might shift our focus. Professor Tim Lang, the United Kingdom’s leading expert on food policy, has written a book: “Feeding Britain,” where he states that, “although not officially at war, the UK is, de facto, facing a wartime scale of food challenge.” He says consumers in the UK have access to a greater range of ingredients at better prices than at any time in human history, yet “all of that masks a bitter reality: we have a massively fragile just-in-time supply chain which could easily collapse; a depleted agriculture sector which produces only around 50% of the food we actually eat, leaving us at the mercies of the international markets; and production methods which are damaging to the environment and human health.” https:// mar/22/tim-lang-interview-professor-offood-policy-city-university-supply-chaincrisis. And of the food supply system itself

– “At the heart of this crisis is a British willingness to let a small number of corporations dominate food retailing: just eight companies control 90% of our food supply.” Covid-19 is nearing peak impact in terms of damage to people’s lives in the UK and relatives of mine living there tell me food rationing is looking likely. Already they cannot buy pasta and are limited for bread – yet according to the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations), the world expects near-record wheat production for 2020. It is the localised disruptions in supply and processing which create the challenges. Similar disruption is occurring in the world’s beef supply – the China export market is opening up for New Zealand, not just because China is starting their Covid-19 recovery, but also because Brazil’s beef export port in Santos is an “absolute disaster” and the Argentinian government has banned beef exports for the next fortnight in response to local food security concerns news/green-shoots-showing-as-china-beefdemand-starts-to-re-emerge/ In NZ, we grow and export much of our food produced, which might indicate that we are sheltered from these problems. To challenge this assumption, have a look at every item in your shopping trolley and roughly work out how much includes imported ingredients or is manufactured offshore. The Government is also looking into our duopoly supermarket system during this time of crisis, but I believe, this has long been a problem, contributing to high food prices for New Zealanders. A very interesting report published by Coriolis (in late 2019), commissioned by MBIE and NZTE, asked the question “Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? Finding the future of the New Zealand food industry.” The report is worth a read, they examine the intensity of our land-use - remember intensity doesn’t have to mean more dairy cows, it may mean more vegetables, more horticulture on appropriate land, pushing

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Meating the need BY: ANNE LEE


rom our whanau to yours – that’s the catch phrase behind the recently launched Meat the Need charity that enables farmers to donate an animal so the country’s most vulnerable can have meat on the table. Key farmers behind the charity Wayne Langford and Siobhan O’Malley are calling on their peers, from across the dairy, sheep, beef and deer sectors, to get in behind the venture. The pair had been working towards a launch in coming months, with support from Silver Fern Farms, Beef+Lamb, Federated Farmers and DairyNZ, but the sky-rocketing need created by Covid-19 meant they fast-tracked it. Meat processor Silver Fern Farms is an integral part of the scheme, taking the donated animals and converting their value into 500g meat parcels that will be sent directly to foodbanks, City Missions and organisations that help feed the hungry. Both O’Malley and Langford are well known in farming circles – O’Malley along with husband Christopher is a former New Zealand Sharefarmer of the Year and Langford, aka YOLO Farmer on social

more livestock onto the hill country asking the question what is the best use of different land types? The report also asks - are we are missing out on food manufacturing jobs by having our major food companies predominantly selling ingredients to others (offshore). As we face record job losses, these are important topics to examine, debate and understand, not just in terms of food value and jobs, but also in the interests of our own national food security – our “physiological needs.” New Zealanders culturally cringe at the fact that we are an agricultural nation – this is noticeable by how the media portrays food production, how we educate our children, how saddled our farmers have become with bureaucracy and how

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media, has featured widely in publications and on television for his work in mental health. O’Malley says farmers can donate cattle, sheep or deer to the charity via the group’s website www.meattheneed. org with transport and normal meat processing forms and information organised online. “We’re asking farmers to think about making this a regular thing so that when they’re sending animals away for processing, and they’re in a position to, one gets donated to the scheme,” she says. “Because the value of the animal goes into the ‘meat account’ it means the flow of packs to the foodbanks can be managed and the supply chain is smooth throughout the year,” Langford says. O’Malley says foodbanks indicated 500g packs of mince are the preferred form of donated meat from the scheme. “When you look at the number of farms in this country and the need that’s out there, on a per-farmer basis this should be very doable – no one in this country should be going without food on the table,” Langford says. • Listen to the podcast at: meat-the-need

our research and development spend has moved away from primary production. The Covid-19 crisis will be a chance for our country to reposition. How should we use our land? What do we want to grow? How do we want to support our growers? How do we access investment capital and labour for greater intensification of some land types? How do we want to manufacture more of what we grow? And how should we sell what we grow? This is a collaborative challenge for growers, private businesses and Government and vital for the future of our country – the cringe should be banished. • Anna Campbell is the managing director of AbacusBio, a Dunedin-based agritechnology company.

Koanui is committed to beating COVID-19 We will be having our 2020 bull sale on June 11 with some changes. We are working with agents to choose a sale format that ensures the safety and wellbeing of our clients and staff. As usual, we will have a catalogue with photos and figures. Plus, new this year, videos of bulls will be posted online. Pre-sale visits that follow COVID-19 guidelines will be available by arrangement. Please phone regarding your needs. We are always flexible and have a range of options to suit your herd. Follow our website, newsletter or Facebook for sale updates. Stay Safe!

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BUSINESS | ENVIRONMENT Left: Make sure that you have a winter grazing plan in place.

Driving change BY: KERI JOHNSTON


f you’d asked me six months ago what 2020 might have in store for us, I would not have guessed a pandemic. Thanks to Covid-19, food and fibre producers are considered an essential service, along with medical professionals, supermarket workers, truck drivers, and other support services, and there has been pretty much no talk about how we are ruining the environment since this whole pandemic thing started. Agriculture as the sole cause of climate change has also been absent from the headlines, replaced by the now lack of planes and the reduction of air pollution globally. The Freshwater reforms are not front and centre of the Government’s mind at the moment. The inevitable delay of the reforms, and the requests from many of the primary


sector groups to do so, may be seen by others as farmers kicking the can down the road – that we are using our newfound status as an essential service to stop environmental regulation. That is not the intent at all obviously – we are extremely busy doing what we do best – growing food for our country in need, and producing fibre to keep us warm, and therefore, adding the introduction of complex environmental regulation into the mix will add more pressure and divert energy and attention from where it is really needed the most at the moment. But all it takes is one vocal person with an audience to suggest otherwise and we find ourselves with our backs against the wall again. The pandemic provides us with an opportunity. We have long voiced our opinion that regulation forced on us from on high doesn’t work. It is far more effective when we lead it, work together to come up with solutions, and ultimately drive behavioural change.

Now is the time for us to step up, take control of the conversation and lead by example. Let’s show New Zealand that we are humbled to be able to support them in a time of need, and that together, with all the other essential services, we will do our best to keep our country ticking over. And, we will do this to the best of our ability, which means ensuring we are looking after the environment at the same time – and because we want to, not because we have to. We are about to get into winter grazing – make sure that you have a winter grazing plan in place. Now is a great time to update your Farm Environment Plan, or if you haven’t got one, then do it. Covid-19 has also opened up the question about resiliency as a nation. If borders are closed and we can only eat what we grow here, being able to ensure we have a secure food supply, long term, is critical. The opportunity for us here is to have those conversations. I have been bleating on about the need for more water storage for a while, but it will be needed if we are to increase our resilience – we cannot afford to be wholly at the mercy of Mother Nature, because we all know that she can get a tad grumpy at times, and the evidence would suggest her mood swings are beginning to get more extreme. Now, back to life in lockdown. Stay safe everyone (and stay sane). There is no doubt the NZ we knew before lockdown will be forever changed – but let’s make it for the better. A big thank you to all of you who are out there keeping us going.

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Left: With the movement away from sending calves on the bobby truck, calves being reared have flooded the market.

Flexibility for threats and opportunities BY: CAMPBELL WOODS


t AgriFocus, we have seen our clients’ income per stock unit from beef increase from $65/SU, to $164 over the past 15 years. At the same time, the percentage of income derived from cattle has increased from 9% to 17% last season. On top of this, our clients income from grazing has gone from 0% 15 years ago, to 12% now, so all up our Cattle income has gone from 9% of our farmers incomes, to close to 30% of income (this is in Southland). This is driven by a number of factors. People have had to diversify their businesses as volatility has continued to play a massive part in the agricultural industry, and it will continue to do so. The price we fetch per kg for any of our product is largely out of the farmers control, so it is the decisions we make inside the farm gate which will dictate success and failure. Gone are the days of a beef cow simply being a cheap mower doing a development

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job out on the hill, it is also the source of a highly valuable product. We have seen the rise in the value-added product of grass fed beef globally over the past decade. In New Zealand we are well placed to supply this market. This lift in income over the past few years in particular has allowed for greater investment in genetics to continue moving our product in the right direction. Even the smaller scale operators have been able to go and pay a bit more to get a better bull, to in turn drive more income the following seasons. Our decisions today, largely won’t have an outcome/impact financially on the business until next year at the earliest. What has also increased the beef market in NZ is the huge rise in dairy beef calves being raised on a yearly basis. A lot of smaller operators use this to supplement their income. With the movement away from sending calves on the bobby truck, calves being reared have flooded the market. We have seen the store market for cattle drop off in the past two years. The traits our more successful operators have in common in terms of beef performance seems to come down to

quality livestock, and being able to finish the stock early, no matter the breed. It may be selling the beef calves at market at weaning, but the earlier maturing quality ones seem to gain a premium at the sales because of these traits. Or they may keep the calves and sell them in the spring as a forward store, or finish them themselves before the second winter. Or it may be Friesian Bulls that are reared/bought at 100kg, under the right conditions and providing they have quality feed, they can be the most efficient converters of drymatter into carcaseweight. It is the quality bulls that pack the weight on and can be killed earlier than the average (16-18 months) that tend to be the most profitable, as they are still an attractive store animal if they need to be sold, as the purchaser knows it can be turned around and killed when needed (Southland, typically). The key is having a diverse income stream, and if you don’t, how can you build some diversity into the mix to insulate your business from volatile times. If you are rearing calves to sell at 100kg, have you got them all contracted? If you don’t and are planning on hitting the market with them, how many others are in the same boat? Yes, if you are rearing quality stock they will sell, but are there other ways to make up that extra income required. Or if we get stuck with the stock, can we do a good job and finish them, or do we have to gamble on the store market in the spring/summer/autumn? The same goes for trading cattle you have bought in, if they are quality animals and you can feed them you will do okay, but what is the plan B and C? We think the key in any business is to be in the driver’s seat, rather than the passenger seat. There are so many things out of our control in the markets we play in, and the great thing about farming is there is no ‘one size fits all’. Every farm and every business is unique and diverse in its own way. • Campbell Woods is a client manager at Agrifocus, Invercargill.



Some farmers dabbled with online selling systems, others relied on loyal clients and managed to shift weaner calves relatively easy.

Markets absorb constant change BY: MEL CROAD


eef markets both at store and slaughter level within New Zealand have changed dramatically in the last six months. No one foresaw the impact the global spread of Covid-19 would have on prices, demand and international trade. At the start of 2020, the NZ beef market was still reacting to the drop in prices and demand from China that had occurred in late December. It is a necessary requirement for China to cease buying a month out from Chinese New Year, due to shipping restrictions. Unfortunately, many expected the strength of Chinese demand to continue and therefore held on to cattle longer than normal. As summer weather patterns prevailed, backlogs grew and when cattle were finally offloaded, it was at pricing levels that were on average 60-65c/kg lower than only two months earlier. By February the beef markets were rocked with the closure of Chinese borders and the halt to exports there. The sheep and beef industry were still coming to grips with the slowdown in global


demand when lockdown measures were implemented in NZ in late March. It has been a whirlwind and defining month for the industry. There has been plenty of head-scratching and confusion. The near immediate closure of saleyards across the country rattled even the hardiest of farmers that rely on this method to buy and shift stock. Cancellation of weaner and in-calf cow fairs saw farmers and agents scrambling to find new solutions to sell stock. While some farmers dabbled with online selling systems, others have relied on loyal clients and have managed to shift weaner calves relatively easy. The closure of saleyards has also made it harder for vendors to determine a value for their weaner calves. Results from the earlier fairs indicated the market was much softer than we had seen for a number of years and some held calves back. Unfortunately, market conditions have not improved, if anything they have got worse and vendors are now needing to be realistic with prices if they wish to shift beef calves. The market started out above $3/kg for steers. While $3/kg is still achievable for the odd annual line of top-

quality calves, most have since retreated to the mid-high $2/kg depending on breeding and condition. For older store cattle the market has stalled with more cattle on quote than selling. Many beef farmers are carrying more cattle than they would like for this time of the season. For those in drought regions, it has been a struggle to offload numbers. Covid-19 processing protocols have meant plants cannot work to full capacity as distancing requirements among staff becomes the priority. This has extended backlogs and is pushing wait times closer to winter. For some the hard decision to offload breeding cows, which has not been made lightly, has been the only option to lighten feed pressures heading into the cooler months. This comes at a time when herd numbers had been enjoying a resurgence, a reflection of the improvement in weaner prices and the beef market in recent years. The impact of this is that cow numbers are likely to drop even further this year and will therefore restrict overall cattle numbers and subsequent slaughter and export volumes in the short to medium term. Farmgate beef prices have continued

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10 5 0

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May 2020

Dec 5-yr ave

Feb 2018-19


Jun 2019-20

Aug Source: B+LNZ

US imported 95CL (NZD)






Dec 5-yr ave

Feb 2018-19


Jun 2019-20



Source: AgriHQ

North Island prime slaughter price



6.00 5.50 5.00 4.50


Dec 5-yr ave

Feb 2018-19


Jun 2019-20

Aug Source: AgriHQ

New Zealand cattle slaughter

90 Thousand head

to trail historical averages through the opening months of 2020. By April, farmgate beef prices were even weaker, with bull and steer prices across the country floundering below $5/kg. For many farmers in the North Island, it had been quite some time since farmgate beef prices were this low. Market movements, demand and pricing moved away from traditional trends as covid-19 spread across the world. Typically, we would expect to start seeing some upside in beef prices through late autumn, although beef exports to China this is always very dependent on overseas demand remaining robust. While China looks to be turning a corner with regards to the spread and containment of Covid-19, other key markets are still adjusting. And this is going to impact any pricing upside at the farmgate in the short term, especially when combined with slowing throughput wait times Feb Aprat processors Jun and increasing Aug and backlogs Source: B+LNZ 2018-19 2019-20 We have witnessed further pricing downside in the United States beef market. Since peaking imported 95CLmanufacturing (NZD) at US$3.20/lb in late November (albeit an unsustainable level) the 95CL bull price has eased back to US$2.20/lb. US consumers have shifted their buying requirements to fresh US beef at retail in response to the fast food and restaurant closures as a Covid-19 isolation method. Many consumers stockpiled fresh mince to freeze down at home. Feb Apr Jun beefAug Oct Imported saw very limited benefit 2018-19 2019-20 Source: AgriHQ of this rally in consumer demand given its reliance on the foodservice sector. However now as foodservice demand slumps and retail buying retreats after the first wave of virus-induced panic, there are growing concerns that the US could be facing an oversupply of meat protein. Normally the US would be gearing up for peak grilling, which increases protein consumption. With backyard barbeques ruled out and fast food outlets still closed because of isolation requirements, it’s potentially going to limit consumption and limit the usual spike in demand for imported beef through this time. Added to this is the economic impact of Covid-19, as incomes are stretched, consumers are expected to turn to cheaper pork and chicken at the expense of beef. As noted, NZ exporters are noting an improvement in interest and buying from


60 30 0

Oct Dec 5-yr ave

Feb 2019-20

China for beef. The lockdown in China saw many consumers test out home cooking and many had success with beef, particularly NZ beef. Chinese consumer sentiment towards NZ beef has also lifted given our handling of Covid-19. While the cogs may be turning in China it is going to take more than one market to pull beef prices back to the normal ranges farmers have been accustomed to over the last few years. Over the coming months the long-term impacts of Covid-19 on our industry will become clearer. It may be that farm budgets will need to be reviewed and chances are beef finishers will have to accept that the record high prices witnessed at the farmgate late last year are unlikely to be replicated any time soon. What we are seeing is that store cattle


Jun Aug 2018-19 Source: NZ Meat Board

prices are moving in tandem with slaughter prices. While prices received for finished stock are much lower than in recent years, the replacement cost of store cattle should help support margins in the short-term. There has been such uncertainty and turmoil inflicted on our markets in recent months it is easy to keep a shortsighted view. If we can look at the positives, we can see, using China as an example, that markets can move through this and if there is one thing for sure, consumers have shown us in this unsettling environment that meat matters and in a crisis they will return to what they know and trust. • Mel Croad is a senior analyst for AgriHQ.



Australian beef markets resilient BY: VICTORIA O’SULLIVAN


astern states young cattle markets have posted solid highs in the first quarter of 2020, driven by demand for restocker cattle. NAB Senior Economist Phin Ziebell said the speed of the cattle restocker market rally in February was ‘simply without precedent in modern Australian cattle market history’. The strength in the restocker market came off the back of good rains following a crippling drought in 2019. “The cause of this rally rested almost entirely with very good rainfall across much – but not all –of eastern Australia in January and February,” he said in NAB Rural Commodities Wrap and NAB In Focus: Cattle Market.

“This put a rocket under the restocker market at a time where good stock had been hard to find on account of protracted drought.” Ziebell said finished cattle prices had been good for some time, reflecting difficulty sourcing quality stock, but also on account of very strong export market performance. The impact of African Swine Fever on Chinese pig meat saw Chinese consumers turn to Australian beef exports for protein in the second half of 2019, ensuring solid export demand. Australia became the world’s biggest beef exporter by value in 2019. He said the main pressure for beef over the coming months will be the competing forces of strong restocker interest, tempered by challenging global market fundamentals brought about by Covid-19.

“Australia has rightly set its sights on value-added premium product in the sector, but with restaurants across much of the world closed and many consumers losing their jobs, buying premium product will be a tough ask for many global consumers,” he said. “On balance, domestic restocker pressure will pull prices away from rough global fundamentals. If the next 12 months can proceed as a restocking phase that will go some way to reducing this tension.” But he says the true impacts of the pandemic on global trade are yet to be realised. “Global supply chains are under massive pressure [and] it is hard to predict what will happen to supply chains in the coming months. The global economy is in a sharp downturn. Demand for premium products could well suffer as consumers



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Right: Finished cattle prices had been good for some time, reflecting difficulty sourcing quality stock.

simply don’t have cash to spend. “China is emerging from a very serious shutdown and is likely to see very significant impacts in economic growth. You’ve got Japan and South Korea -- both countries handled the coronavirus pretty well but [there are] still major social distancing measures [such as] people not going out to restaurants. The serious and emerging concern of coronavirus in the United States will also be important for the flow of Australian exports.” Domestically, no real disruptions have been seen in Australian food supply outside of panic buying and hoarding from Australian supermarkets. Ziebell said access to labour and risk of outbreak remains a major concern for labour-intensive parts of agriculture, such as horticulture, dairy processing and abattoirs. In his April commentary, Ziebell noted

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seasonal conditions as looking good across Australia, with the three-month Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) outlook pointing to well-above-average rainfall for the next three months. He said the performance of Australian agriculture was a positive note amongst a sea of negative news brought about by Covid-19. Underpinned by the booming livestock markets, the NAB Rural

Commodities Index had a record month in February – rising 8.5% month-on-month, then gaining a further 5.8% in March. “Commodity prices overall are going up, the AUD is lower, and we’re actually looking at a pretty good season so far after a tough one last year,” said Ziebell. “If you’re a farmer, you’d be pretty happy with the way things are, I think, at the moment.”



Left: Beijing: The industry needed better understanding of what type of e-commerce was needed to build brand and market share in China.

Shaky food service changes channels BY: TIM FULTON


shift to home cooking and a slide in food service after Covid-19 is changing beef sales. Chinese food service had resumed but was not yet back to normal, Alliance Group category director, beef, Darren Drury, said. The trade had been hurt by social distancing requirements and restrictions on guest numbers, such as a maximum of three people per table. In response, Alliance had “pivoted away” from food service retail cuts or simplified manufacturing items, including new packaging, he said. There was room to educate Chinese consumers who chose to cook meals at home and they were generally familiar with cooking pork, chicken and fish, but not so


much with beef and lamb. “One of the ways we can do that is targeting consumers with simple recipes that highlight the benefits of grass-fed natural beef. There is a real opportunity to create new eating habits,” Drury said. E-commerce was growing and Covid-19 movement restrictions in January and February saw use of the sales channel increase dramatically. Silver Fern Farms chief executive Simon Limmer said Covid-19 lockdown was changing the way people ate around the world. With restaurants hobbled, SFF customers were sending product into retail, or home delivery, offsetting slack demand in food service. “China is recovering and consumer confidence is returning. We believe they are a good indicator of the potential for our sector,” he said.

Beef markets were mostly stable. While the United States, fast-food restaurant chains had cut purchasing, drive-through and home-delivery services were still operating. This had affected demand for grinding beef, Limmer said. “At the same time, we are seeing increased demand from retailers, with much of the product being taken up to service the growth in consumer demand at supermarkets.” China market insider, Gung Ho! pizza restaurant founder Jade Gray, said the Covid-19 crisis was a chance for New Zealand meat marketers to finally band together. Gray’s 24-year career in China has gone from managing cattle breeding farms in the north east to butchery retail in the south west. In 2000 he stepped out on his own and set off as an entrepreneur that has cumulated in the restaurant group Gung Ho! Ventures, which owns several award-winning food and beverage brands including the Gung Ho! Pizza and Pyro Pizza chains. In November 2019 the New Zealander sold his pizza restaurants in Beijing to his management. He’s still a director of those businesses and is helping them to navigate the Covid-19 economic turmoil. Gray has served as a Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) government-appointed adviser, helping NZ businesses enter the China market. More recently he helped train senior civil servants as part of the NZ Government’s China Capable Public Sector Masterclass programme in Wellington. Looking back, Gray said being a foreigner meant he often lacked a “sixth sense” for judging Chinese business risk. Only someone raised in the culture could always have that kind of intuition, he said. “You have to get very used to that state of not really understanding what’s totally going on. But what you hope to get, is to have a good team around you that do fully get it, that you can trust.” Gray recommends NZ companies give their China-based staff more freedom to make decisions, based on their natural feel for the Chinese market.

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May 2020

“It’s definitely a time to give a lot of autonomy to your local teams.” He says they’ve got a perception that outside people never get, even at the best of times and foreign management teams are too hands-on. They certainly needed to be attuned to company values and governance regulations, but most tactical and many strategic decisions had to be left up to the local team if the organisation was going to move at the pace required to be competitive in China’s rapidly changing landscape. Chinese were a bit wary of economic conditions but had been through this sort of crisis numerous times. This was the fourth epidemic Gray could recall since he first went there in the mid 1990s: Sars, Avian Flu, Swine Flu and now Covid-19. Gray had no doubt that Chinese businesses would respond quickly with new business models including online buying based on social media marketing.

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May 2020

Closures of fast food stores Social media numbers are going through the roof in China but it won’t change business direction because it was heading that way anyway, Gung Ho! pizza restaurant founder Jade Gray said. “But I’d say it’s going to accelerate it by at least two to three years, in terms of the attraction of online retail.” Kiwis in the market would have to adapt. Some of Gray’s entrepreneur mates in China had a couple of fast food stores while others had 30 or 40. “What we’re seeing is mass closures.” He can see the majority of SME-size restaurants typically closing 25 to 50% of their stores. “And you’re going to get a lot that close completely.” He said many malls would struggle to fill their real estate as food businesses closed. There was a big push to malls in China in the last decade but many of those mega

complexes, including department stores, were now losing out to online order and delivery. “They were already on a knife-edge before this. Covid-19 is going to throw the whole mall industry into disarray in China.” Any slump in the number of bricks and mortar eateries would hurt NZ’s food service sales and give meat marketers fewer places to showcase their wares as chefs and buying agents lost jobs. These contacts were vital for NZ meat marketers, as they were usually loyal to particular products. “They’re the true mavens (expert or connoisseur). They’re the true flagbearers of the product; they don’t change with what’s hot and what’s not. They find something they like to work with, they trust it, they learn the story and they stay with it.” NZ beef had been sold in China since at




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May 2020

‘You have to get very used to that state of not really understanding what’s totally going on. But what you hope to get, is to have a good team around you that do fully get it, that you can trust.’ least the late 1980s but awareness of NZ product was still dull. Trade partners might recognise Kiwi “pasture beef” like Silver Fern Farms, Landcorp or Grand Farms (Alliance Group) product but few Chinese consumers would recognise those brands. Job losses in restaurants of previously loyal chefs and buying agents in the food service industry would hinder efforts to continue to differentiate Kiwi product. Gray urged the NZ meat industry to respond by retrenching to the national story. He felt strongly that collectively, despite a worldwide slump, NZ beef and lamb could pull off a marketing coup by banding together. “In the last five to 10 years there’s been a real push toward building brands, which is great and they have done an impressive job at it but I think now is a time to be coming together and saying ‘this is not a time for us to be flying our own flag’.” The worst result would be a reversion to a commodity game based on the best deal to secure NZ product. Nor should anyone individually try to capture the top end of a market. “You’re not looking for the flashest thing to put on a degustation menu because many of the high-end restaurants are not going to exist.” The focus for the next few years should be keeping ‘Brand NZ Inc’ strong. “During a crisis it could finally be a chance for these guys to get out there and commit to working together, because they have

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May 2020

struggled to do this in China to date.” Millions of dollars had been poured into market support initiatives, from taxpayers and farmer groups, without a tangible market co-operation strategy to show for it. “They’ve tried over the years and I don’t believe it’s got to a point it should have been at.” If done right, NZ traders could spend a couple of years working together on Brand NZ-type marketing, then go back to promoting their own brands. China-based agricultural business consultant Michael Boddington also sees a new dawn rising in China. More than 30 years ago Boddington started and ran Chinese operations for PIC, the world’s largest pig breeding business. He was also Alltech’s Biotechnology general manager in China and in 2007 Boddington founded Asian Agribusiness Consulting (AAC) and Asian Agribusiness Recruitment, Training and Development (AARTD).  Boddington, who lives and works in Beijing, said the Covid-19 outbreak would amplify huge changes in Chinese retail that started with the launch of China’s biggest retailer,, after the SARS outbreak in 2003.   During the latest Chinese New Year season e-commerce grew by more than 50% per week. Two weeks later as the country was in the Covid-19 lockdown it grew by more than 90%. Demographics were changing and older people were using e-commerce more often, Boddington said. “My advice to the NZ beef industry is to embrace social media and increase

Alliance Group category director, beef, Darren Drury.

investments in awareness, education and smart value-added ideas such as directing your followers to places where NZ beef is served or retailed.” The industry needed better understanding of what type of e-commerce was needed to build brand and market share, Boddington said. Rabobank NZ animal proteins analyst, Blake Holgate, predicted Chinese beef demand would rebound in the second half of the year, once a backlog of imported beef worked through the system. China would still lack meat protein because of the impact of African Swine Fever on domestic pork production and Holgate expected the NZ beef industry to take advantage of increased food safety awareness in the country. “I think the Chinese consumer has always been very food-safety, healthorientated. This will reinforce that and will definitely be a plus in NZ’s column, but when the supply hole’s that big, they will be looking to source meat from a number of producers (around the world).”

›› Americans go grilling p39



70 years of breeding- established 1950

40th 2 year old sale

4th June 2020, 3pm | 1 Year Heifer and Bull Sale 8th September 2020, 12 noon Sales held at Ranui 662 Rangitatau East Road, Wanganui Lindsay & Maria Johnstone: 027 4453 211 3rd generation “Lindsay Johnstone� managing the Ranui stud 38 

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Americans go grilling

Thousand tonne

Rabobank NZ analyst Blake Holgate said the the year, that US market is one to keep an US market should hold up. eye on,” Holgate said. Americans were entering grilling season ANZ agriculture economist, Susan Kilsby, soon, so if people couldn’t go out because of said the worst of the Chinese supply Covid-19, they would likely eat more beef at disruption was over but China itself was home. facing an economic slowdown in Europe, US Drought and a lack of storage capacity for and elsewhere. “So, while its own economy NZ beef continued to weigh on the industry, might be improving, it’s under a dark cloud he said. that’s lowering,” she said. NZ’s biggest competitor to supply grass-fed Kilsby expected US beef demand to drop beef globally would inevitably be Australia, as well. “The challenge with the States which has been plagued by drought. is very much in that hamburger market. “Their beef exports will be down quite While there is talk about doing higher-end noticeably this year. Their national herd products, that’s really challenging in the numbers have been coming down due to current economic environment.” the drought over a numberNZ of seasons so The restaurant trade, including fast food, beef exports to China their30 capital stock has reduced. Now that could be difficult as countries imposed they’ve Covid-19 movement restrictions. 25 had rain they will be looking to rebuild.” The only possible upside was drive20 American herd rebuilding could also be through operations, because a lot of a factor: Americans didn’t cook at home. “But you’ve 15 US cow slaughter was reasonably high and earlier this year China reached got to say, consumption’s going to fall in 10 agreement about buying American general.” 5 agricultural products, including beef. Food exports were predicted to out“There’s a number of roadblocks there perform other commodities in the next few 0 at the moment use of growth record prices Oct aroundDec Feb Apryears butJun Augfor NZ goods were hormones in the US, but potentially, if unlikely worldB+LNZ was under the 5-yr ave 2018-19 2019-20while the Source: China does need to source protein later in Covid-19 cloud, Kilsby said.

US imported 95CL (NZD)

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China is recovering and consumer confidence is returning.

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva reported: • In February, the impact of Covid-19 saw the value of exports to China drop by 45% to $75 million compared to February 2019. • Provisional Statistics NZ data for the period from March 1-25, however shows that value of exports to China dropped by only 15% compared to the same period in 2019, indicating that trade is starting to recover. • The global demand for protein remains strong, and as China begins to recover, we expect NZ red meat exports to continue to improve. China remains our top sheepmeat market and second-largest beef market after the US. • Monitoring of Chinese social media shows that Covid-19 has created an opportunity for more consumers to turn to on-line shopping for food largely driven by convenience North Island prime s and health 6.50 reasons (with strong demand for fresh or organic/natural products) 6.00 and food safety concerns. • In China the term organic 5.50 often means product free from antibiotics and 5.00 hormones as well as lean product which is preferred 4.50 health reasons. for family Oct Dec Feb • In addition, we understand 5-yr ave 2018-19 Chinese consumers have had more time to try new recipes at home due to the New Zealand c lockdown and are looking 90 for healthier foods. Beef has natural associations with health and immunity 60 building as per Chinese Traditional Medicine – and these 30 are heightened since Covid-19. Beef appears to be gaining popularity at the expense 0 of pork to some Dec Feb A extent. Oct 5-yr ave 2019-20


Dec 5-yr ave

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May 2020

Feb 2018-19


Jun 2019-20



Source: AgriHQ



Left: End result: a grass-fed Firstlight Wagyu steak.

Grass-fed beef a winner despite challenges BY: KEN GEENTY


ccolades for grass-fed beef are gaining momentum both locally and internationally. On the back of our world-leading outdoor pasture grazing systems the grass-fed beef phenomenon brings superior eating and human health qualities. These benefits give us a clear marketing edge for New Zealand beef. Retaining this valuable grass-fed marketing edge is paramount for beef producers. Australian research has shown flavour modification of beef is possible


with as little as three weeks feeding on some herb or forage crops. This could damage our grass-fed image so if in doubt producers should consult their meat processing companies regarding the final finishing weeks. Research has also shown at least six weeks finishing on predominantly grass or grain can influence meat characteristics which are easily detected by consumers. As recently as the last five years stern challenges have confronted our incredibly competent beef producers. Looming climate change and environmental issues including methane emissions and water quality are increasing threats. Consumer

rejection of meat for plant-based diets and the possibility of synthetic meat loom. Recent Colmar Brunton reports reveal up to 15% of NZ consumers are now vegetarian. Highly efficient NZ pasture grazing, based predominantly on perennial ryegrass, has cost savings compared with grain or forage feeding. Estimated variable cost to farmers of producing grass is 10-15 cents per kg of drymatter whereas grain has a market value of around $3.80/kg of drymatter. Grazing beef cattle harvest their own feed compared with growing grain which needs to be harvested, stored and transported before being fed. Some suggest we in NZ are somewhat insulated against the synthetic and plant protein threats due to our strong reliance on exporting to larger economies with diverse food requirements including a hunger for quality grass-fed beef. Our export reputation is enhanced by being largely disease free except for Mycoplasma bovis which is prevalent internationally but for us tends more to cause problems around domestic cattle movements. The environmental challenges facing grass-fed beef come with highly regulated and often unpalatable conditions. As early as 2003 our beef and dairy cattle industries agreed to a Clean Streams Accord restricting cattle from freshwater areas and streams to avoid faecal and nitrogen pollution. As a result water quality and use is carefully monitored in the regions by local bodies to keep a check on compliance and trends. More regulations are arriving with the recent Sustainable Water Accord agreed by producer organisations Beef+Lamb NZ and DairyNZ and soon to be released new government legislation on the Healthy Waterways Policy. Repercussions of the Clean Streams Accord have included often complex and costly infrastructure developments including additional fencing, laneways and bridges. This has posed problems on hilly and high country where implementation is sometimes difficult or not practically possible. Most farmers take the opportunity of planting trees in fenced off waterways, including riparian strips and retired land.

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May 2020

Some suggest we in NZ are somewhat insulated against the synthetic and plant protein threats due to our strong reliance on exporting to larger economies with diverse food requirements including a hunger for quality grass-fed beef. This not only helps with water quality and valuable biodiversity but contributes to mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions of mostly methane. The looming natural threat of global warming probably poses the greatest risk for beef producers with many unknowns. Farming advice is currently along the lines: ‘talk to your farming colleagues and rural professionals and develop clear risk management strategies’. With probable increasing weather extremes, including prolonged droughts, advance preparedness is crucial. A future greenhouse gas tax is a possibility. Farmers can take measures, other than planting trees, to mitigate methane emissions from their cattle. Opportunities from a recent Biological Emissions Reference Group report include reduced stocking rates, increased per head production and cutting back on fertiliser

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May 2020

applications. Beef and sheep farms have made good progress with 30% reduced emissions over the past 25 years. Holding on to and growing our share of export beef in the face of other competing red meats and plant protein relies on consumers being constantly reminded about our grass-fed point of difference. This is done well by our meat exporters and the likes of producer organisation Beef + Lamb NZ, major farmer co-operative Silver Fern Farms and the Firstlight Wagyu producer group. Established human health attributes of grass-fed beef include comparatively good levels of the healthy fats omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid as well as other valuable nutrients such as vitamins A and E. Eating quality comparisons of grass versus grain-fed beef reveal the grass-fed product is darker in colour with a stronger

‘grass’ flavour and is slightly more ‘chewy’, characteristics pointing to a relatively more pleasant eating experience. Researchers have found grass-fed red meat has less muscle glycogen and a lower pH than grain-fed pointing to a better shelf life. World appetite for farmed meat is large and expanding with beef globally capturing 22% of the total. Exports of NZ grass-fed beef are keenly sought in an international market comprising largely cereal grain-fed product. Our exports go mostly to the United States and Asia. Even though NZ only provides 0.9% of global beef our $2 billion-plus-a-year industry contributes just over half of the 13% internationally traded. Our export niche of grass-fed beef is unique compared with major beef producers like India, Brazil, China and the US relying mostly on grain and forage crops to raise their beef.


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Left: The mating of heifers is much simpler without the burden of calves at foot.

AI vs Natural



AI single run

AI 2 runs









AI costs Total

AI opportunities for farmers Some farmers are utilising AI to secure appropriate genetics for heifer calving ease. Simon Glennie takes a look at both the practicalities and the numbers.


s we approach bull sale time, a few farmers will no doubt be lamenting the need to buy another bull to go over the 15-month heifers. In a lot of cases the bull used last year will be too big to go across the heifers next season and while the genetic package is there to deliver a smaller calf at birth, the bull has simply grown too large to perform the role. Usually a premium is charged for the

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May 2020

bulls that are used across heifers as calving ease is given high priority. Relatively few bulls have the required growth rate traits coupled with smaller birth weight or shorter gestation lengths associated with calving ease. The bulls that do are sought after but this doesn’t stop them growing too big to mate the heifers as the bulls mature. The consequence is a significant skewing of the cost of bulls to mate heifers naturally. Farmers can use these bulls over their MA cows and often do but they are

usually compromising growth in doing so. With dairy farmer counterparts using AI over more than 90% of the national herd, we must ask why there has not been at least some effort to gain by AI in our commercial beef herds. The sheer power of genetic progress alone has fast tracked productivity in dairy. Herds are traded on their relative genetic merit so the value gained is not just in the vat but also in the balance sheet. Beef farming is different from the roles beef cows typically play to the simplicity and fit with other enterprises. Consuming the poorest of feeds and having a calving date more aligned with feed availability than market timing, beef cows work hard for their place. Enterprise profitability is much about low cost, ease of labour and the role that cows play in pasture management for other enterprises. The sheer mental challenge of embarking upon an AI programme with additional yardings is not something that traditional beef farmers would choose to take on. However, some beef farmers are doing just that and have seen benefits that might surprise those traditionalists. A common stepping stone is the mating of the heifers which is much simpler without the burden of calves at foot. While there are additional yardings, the job is relatively straightforward and the benefits include a very condensed calving and better calves. Of the successful conceptions to AI (somewhere about 50-65% to a single round) the calves are born in a short period (less labour to check) and also early






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AngusPure has partnered with 89 Angus studs here in New Zealand. Together we are focused on the end consumer, with the goal of creating the finest grass fed eating experience. We encourage you to buy your bulls from these studs.

Only our partners will display these devices in their sale catalogues. They indicate bulls that are endorsed by AngusPure NZ. 44 

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May 2020

Wagyu Angus cross heifers.

which allows more time to recover and conceive in the subsequent mating. The cost to buy the straws and inseminate the cows is reasonable, particularly when the merit of the bull is considered. Unfortunately, there is still a requirement for follow up bulls and due to the synchronisation of the cows, the bull power to cover is still considerable. One option is to split the job to make better use of the chaser bulls. While the labour costs rise and there is more travel for the technician, the reduction in chaser bulls is generally of greater value. In the case of heifers, bull cost can be as high as $125/head by the time the premium paid is considered along with the high turnover rate. Based on sourcing good genetics for $20/straw, the cost of AI is broadly similar and including labour works out at $163/heifer providing bull power can be halved. The actual cost of the AI is about $88/ head from which we could expect a 55% conception rate or $163/conception to AI. The balance of the cost is the need to

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‘With a relatively small gap between the cost to service heifers naturally and by AI, its not surprising to see farmers taking up the opportunity to include an AI component in their beef operations.’ provide follow up bull power (we have worked on 50% of the original bull cost and have included two AI runs in the AI costs to allow this) Example of annual servicing costs for heifers are included in the table. Bull costs are per heifer per year where the assumption is made that a $2000 premium over average is paid to buy a superior bull. AI costs include straws, drugs and an allowance for technician travel which is doubled for the two-run example. Where a larger portion of the resulting progeny are able to enter the herd as replacements the advantage is compounded and the herd improves. Some farmers report significantly better weaning weights in the AI calves. However, those calves not born to AI are

usually later born and as a result, not as heavy at weaning. Overall, with half of the calves born to heifers carrying superior genetics, we could expect a better wean weight. Other factors such as a condensed calving and potential to rotate mobs earlier also have a value. With the shift to market premiums for meat quality, the potential also exists to extract a superior price per kilogram due to the potential in the animal. With a relatively small gap between the cost to service heifers naturally and by AI, it’s not surprising to see farmers taking up the opportunity to include an AI component in their beef operations. • Simon Glennie is a farm consultant with AbacusBio.



Beef genetics – new opportunities come to light BY: BOB THOMSON


rguably the best piece of value-based, multi-breed beef genetics work carried out in New Zealand has recently been reported through the Beef + Lamb Genetics Dairy-Beef Progeny Test programme. There are rich streams of gold in this work and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a breeder or finisher, a beef farmer or dairy farmer, a traditionalist or of exotic persuasion. The Beef + Lamb Genetics dairy-beef progeny test programme commenced in 2015 with the first two-years’ matings at Limestone Downs in northern Waikato and has continued at Pamu Renown at Wairakei near Taupo. To date 106 bulls representing 11 different breeds have been mated to ~5000 dairy cows via AI to provide the most comprehensive multi-breed progeny test comparison that we’ve seen in NZ for at least 40-years. Not only is there a treasure-trove of information on differences between breeds, but we’ve also been

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The programme has continued at Pamu’s Wairakei estate.

treated with some great within-breed comparisons. In a nutshell this is a quality programme which will unlikely be rivalled in NZ or elsewhere. Certainly, the work is relevant for NZ farmers having been researched in our own ‘backyard’ with a focus on value-based outcomes. Initially the programme reported gestation length, calving ease with weaning and yearling data. In the last two-years we’ve seen the progeny coming through to slaughter and the start of the carcase evaluation work. The programme has new bulls being mated every year, so there’s plenty more progeny in the pipeline providing year-on-year updates. That means we’ll be treated to more and more quality information and be discovering better and better bulls – it’s exciting and a never-ending story. However, the continuation of the programme is predicated on being adequately funded. On that note full credit must go to Beef + Lamb NZ for continuing with funding support through some very challenging times. The results are convincing and come off the back of a welldesigned, managed and reported progeny test programme thanks to Dr Rebecca Hickson, Associate Professor Animal Science, Massey University. Table 1a shows the top 20 beef bulls identified from the 106 progeny tested bulls to date. The criteria for identifying these bulls was based on progeny being in the top 50% for 600-day weight conditional on a birth weight of less than 38kgs and a gestation length of less than 282-days. Table 1a has been extended to Table 1b where approximate relative economic values have been placed on the progeny performance differences. The Dairy-Beef Index is based on the effect gestation length has on days in milk in the dairy herd with a pay-out of $6.00 per kilogram milk solids. The gestation length value is added to the difference in time (and therefore cost of feed) it takes for calves to reach the threshold 95kg weaning weight. There’s real tension within this index as shorter gestation is

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Table 1a

Table 1b



n born

BWT (kg)

GL (d)

Weaning age (d)

n 200d

LW200 (kg)

LW400 (kg)

LW600 (kg)

Dairy-Beef Index

Growth Index

Overall Index

Focus 110002













Glenside Crumpy C4













Shalom Waigroup 319/07













Monymusk Henry 120012













Rissington C200













Otapawa Spark 3060













Stabilizer 165303













Totaranui 13007













Te Mania 15380













Storth Oaks K122













Beechwood Turk













Rennylea Edmund E11


































Ardo Vostock 5341




Storth Oaks M33




Focus 171293



Mean of all bulls tested







176.0 173.8



Footnotes • NA = Not Available as yet (data pending) • Dairy-Beef Index = Gestation Length advantage expressed in extra days cows milking plus days to reach 95kg weaning weight (expressed in milk saved) valued at $6.00/kg MS • Growth Index = 600-day weight difference from average valued at $3.00 per kilogram liveweight.

moderately and positively correlated to lower birthweight and lower birth weight calves have more weight to make-up to reach the 95kg weaning weight. The Growth Index is more straight forward and is simply the progeny difference from average multiplied by $3.00/kg liveweight (50% of a $6.00 prime beef schedule). And the Overall Index is the sum of the Dairy-Beef Index and the Growth Index. In NZ we don’t yet have an official Dairy-Beef Index and no doubt there will be debate over how this should be calculated. Likewise, the threshold values assumed for selecting the top 20 bulls reported could also be debated and discussed and so readers are invited to

consider how these results can best be presented. For more comprehensive beef progeny test reporting readers are invited to visit the Beef + Lamb Genetics website at beef-progeny-tests. It should be noted that the DairyBeef Progeny test results do not include the maternal performance of the bulls’ progeny and so readers are also encouraged to look to the Beef Progeny test results which are reported on the same Beef + Lamb Genetics website as the dairybeef results. Notwithstanding the lack of maternal results in the Dairy-Beef Progeny test, Beef + Lamb Genetics are encouraged to consider once-breeding the dairy-

beef heifer offspring in the dairy-beef programme to gain some valuable insights into reproduction and weaning performance. First mating, calving and weaning performance has a good association with lifetime production and therefore would provide an early indication of maternal performance. The heifers would be marketed to processing following weaning thereby retaining the valuable carcase data that is also important to the programme. Please refer to Dr Hickson’s article on the Dairy-Beef Progeny Test beef carcase evaluation work for further valuable information on this programme. 

• Bob Thomson is an Agfirst consultant.

Fab field day lunch Tamar Farms, Mid Canterbury, treated Beef + Lamb NZ field day visitors to a lunch to remember just before the Covid-19 lockdown. Such meals often feature meat of an appropriate species but at Tamar Farms it was their own, 21-day aged premium Red Devon served as sumptuous pies and super sausage rolls. Delicious. See p130 for more from the field day.

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May 2020



Left: Sowing Lotus Corniculatus pre Christmas. Above: Pure Lotus stand with added fathen.

More lucerne needed in the mix BY: GRAHAM BUTCHER AND MATTHEW TAYLER


he Beef + Lamb Innovation project at Matthew and Shona Tayler’s Lorne Peak Station is nearing its completion amidst the turmoil of lockdown. Some planned activities have been delayed by restrictions. The project is coming to its conclusion, but the pathways to improving profitability as a result of the project have only just begun. To recap, we started out the project with the objective to finish own-bred beef calves as R2s on high performance pastures (notably lucerne) and avoid a second winter which is what was happening. We aimed to get carcaseweight (CW) as R2s close to what was being achieved as R3s. A big call really. All this was to happen in the Garston environment which can indeed be challenging.


Year one began with utilising all the known tools to manage bloat. In an ideal world, these probably work but risks like broken ballcocks diluting bloat oil, cold overnight snaps and limited staff on the large scale at Lorne Peak produced unacceptable deaths in high-value animals. Other tools would be needed. Important note here, we felt we had to come up with a safe plan without Rumensin capsules. It’s an antibiotic and possibly can’t be used in the future. Companion varieties, with lucerne, and different ones sown pure had been part prominent in discussions. Were we making life too difficult by pursuing pure stands of lucerne? There is good production with pure stands, but it is not much use if they kill. What counts is kilograms of beef, not drymatter and there’s an animal welfare issue as well. Of interest have been the use of Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil, sown in strips, mixed and pure), plantain, and red clover and grass varieties. Use of these at

initial sowing and stitching in or the last couple of years of a stand’s life is being considered. Sub clover is also now part of what grows at Lorne Peak. A visit to the Avery family’s Bonavaree farm, Marlborough, introduced the idea of utilising high performance pastures with bulls and visits this year to two very good bull beef units at Tarras seems to have cemented a bull beef policy into place. In this third year of the project Matthew has made several important points about what is happening now on station. This year 680, 100-day bull calves were on station in November. Possibly too many given conditions we have now. These calves went on to red/white clover till mid-January when the transition to lucerne began. Bloatenz/Peta dispensers began five days prior to lucerne. Single mob. Heavy rain led to puddles in paddocks and calves not drinking from troughs. They were taken off to grass for five days and then quickly transitioned back to lucerne. Flax seed oil manually dosed into troughs was used successfully in year two to counter bloat. A venturi pump which has not yet been installed will administer evenly to troughs. The plan was to leave them on lucerne to end April, but again events overtook the plan. There were still 8000 lambs on board to go as 20kg lambs. The lambs took priority on lucerne so the bulls were taken

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off. However, out of 680 calves, only one was lost to bloat. Corniculatus was sown just prior to Christmas and has gone well. Calves did not appear to show any preference over lucerne. Beef cows and calves used to follow and clean up fathen seemed to graze the lotus quite hard compared to lucerne. The lotus recovery was slow but so was lucerne. This is one of the drier paddocks on Lorne Peak. Corniculatus has a similar growth pattern with lucerne and winter weed sprays are possible. Lotus has high condensed tannin not only for bloat control but also more efficient nitrogen metabolism and suppression of internal parasites. All important issues. The prairie grass/lucerne mix has established well and the tetraploid rye stitched in for past two years was productive in mining nitrogen. The station now has 150ha of sub clover which is growing well. Until this year the most bulls killed was 40. This year to date, 330 R3 were killed at 315kg, 20 R3 at 300kg with another 60 ready to go now and 180 R2 will be ready in May (partly processor delays). This leaves 90 bulls to kill as R3 after winter. We will need to wait until we see how many lambs and R1 bulls we will need to winter before topping up on R2 bulls. The next step is to give R2 bulls and station-bred steers another go on lucerne, but given the balance of the farm there’s no immediate need to take the additional risk. A drier farm without irrigation or oversown, top-dressed hill would have more incentive to do so.

LESSONS LEARNED • Need more lucerne mixes, essentially treating lucerne as the equivalent of white clover. • Don’t be hard on R2 in winter, compensatory growth good but kill timing more important. • Next pivot will be a 108ha techno system. • Mob size matters with R2 and older, not so much with R1. • Buy early healthy bull calves. • Bulls as profitable as winter dairy cows and have led to better sheep and beef cow performance. • Higher cattle ratios have led to higher legume content in pasture, particularly on oversown, top dressed hill country. • Confident that R1 bulls are safe on lucerne (through grazing management and Peta’s) and profitable without North Island drought.

So, from a well-defined objective at the start, the actual path has been somewhat different. At the start, stock management options were the focus. Now, pasture, including lucerne, management is as important with companion varieties in our sights. • Graham Butcher is a Gore-based farm consultant.

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Key points •

Well grown weaners coming off we

Cattle finishing systems are very dynamic. For most beef finishers the objective is to maximiseves a good start, 1.15 kg/da | GISBORNE profit while maintaining (or improving) the farm. There is no finishing system that is best all MANAGEMENT and for weaning stocking rate to ensure cattlecontour, are well fed, a trade-off farms as differences in climate, soil, pastures, infrastructure and farmer dictate between stocking rate and liveweight gain. • Bulls mostly grazing easy contoure different constraints.

The figure below shows two common growth paths

new and short rotation pastures, go

Some farms have the option of choosing an early finishing policy. This usually requires a from weaning on for well grown weaners liveweight March) compromise of stocking rate to(270kg ensure cattle are wellinfed, a trade-off between stocking rate them. you are not feeding toliveweight achieve slaughter at 550 kg liveweight. In the fast • A terminal Top bull averaged 577 kg at le and gain. beefmob sire must also be

Potential for beef

growth path cattle slaughter begins at 17 months of age

seriously considered you grow out all of age overifboth years

The figure below shows two common growth paths for well grown weaners (270kg liveweight your own beef to go to the works. (assuming September birth), whereas the slow growth • UseAverage carcass weights over two in March) to achieve slaughter at 550 kg liveweight. In the fast growth path cattle slaughter of artificial insemination in our path begins slaughter at 24 months of age. With the fast bullsespecially averaged 330 kg carcass at 17 begins at 17 months of age (assuming September birth), whereas the slowbeef growth path herds our yearling heifers is Peter Andrew considers the potential for more beef growth path 54% feed goes to With maintenance while path 54% of another begins slaughter at 24of months of age. the fast growth feed goes to pot of gold to beaveraged tapped. middle linewaiting of bulls 314 kg production in maintenance Gisborne maintenance 70% goes topost-Covid-19. maintenance the slowpath. growth path. 70% goes while to in the slowingrowth Our growing stock are still growing too

months of age

slowly on average and are on farm for far • long. ThisGrass data illustrates the importance too used for the maintenance 600 of beef is a cost.and post weaning feeding in weight Killing Killing Wefinished need to focus on getting 550 at harder an early agethe at good we R1-year cattle growing faster over their • winter, 11 kg so response copper first they won’t to be there for thesuppleme 500 second. Average 0.9 kg/day no response in the following season Finished by 20 months by Chris Boom 450 and his fellow researchers is now a perfect Average 0.5 kg/day 400 tool for the beef farmers to champion in these current times. This should now be 350 Laurie Copland farms a mix of broken the default. Slow Grown the cow there for in profit to doNorth. the ofIs Broadwood theor Far Breed 300 mahi on the hills, as clean-up is in conflict calving on 20th September and all pro Fast Grown with calf weaning weights? My top sheep In addition some beef weaners 250 farmers are also often achieving great cow are bou class on the farm tends beatrun performance and profit, it is not one the in its ow M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D J F cost of the other. some movement of cows to do tidy up Within mob management there is also Farm systems computer modelling using Farmax has Approximately 10%and ofwethe property is fl here is huge opportunity to using massive economic hill to climb enormous opportunity need Farm systems computer modelling Farmax has shown that and low we stocking an rate and high shown that low stocking rate and high liveweight gain he finishes his top priority stock classe increase the beef production squeeze every drop of keep and tail drafting, liveweight gain cattle finishing systemsneed cantobe as profitable asproduction high stockingtorate low to lift the condition cattle finishing systems can be as profitable as high in thecattle Gisborne district. However outnot of our There is an appropriate scores. liveweight gain systems. allhills. farms and pastures can sustain high flats cattlehave been regularly renova These Capturing potential saying have bepoor in thespecies, black Breedingsteep cows are almost organic now stocking andthis low liveweight gain cattle systems. growth rates.rate If pasture quality is medium to“You low due to to low soilryegrass, fertility, herbs and clovers. Soil fertilit to then improve ourliveweight agricultural gains in are the bank account before you spend needing very low animal health inputs and contour, etc, high unlikely to be achieved and therefore reducing However not all farms and pastures can sustain high relatively good. He targets to finish all production will fully be through on green Right now, as a and willa lead great diluter of sheep problems. stocking rate will not be compensated by initiatives.” higher liveweight gains to a low cattle growth rates. If pasture quality is medium to low second winter, aiming tapping our attitude country I suspect we are flashing bright The breeding cows are a great to feedhave buffer a good profit system. Thisof is continuous illustrated in the figure below. due to poor species, low soil fertility, steep contour, etc, improvement and innovation. The vast red. We must stay strongly committed and effectively a haybarn on legs,from however these killable any time December majority our farmers have the gains attitude are unlikely to our environmental and quality water rebuilding score is still provides fle thenofhigh liveweight to be achieved. of age. that Thiscondition early finishing thatReducing the status quostocking is for has-beens, as planting natives and critical prior to calving. rate will notinitiatives be fullysuch compensated dry and catching the market before th improvement and perfection is part of our fencing off riparian areas, but can we really Our top beef operators are working with by higher liveweight gains and will lead to a low profit autumn slide in schedule. DNA. afford some of the luxuries like the carbon their animals targeting low-stress systems. system. This is illustrated in the figure below. A great example is the increase in bandwagon? Stressof is athe cost three to the bottom Two mobsline. monitored wer New Zealand’s lambing percentage every Farming is now the 4Fs: fencing, The less an animal worries about escape land from weaning on, while the lighte year through that annual debrief and fertiliser, feeding and fast genes. the more energy can be diverted to the * OKAnyone to be here We have some great approximately hill with challenge of what we are doing. beef genetics, liveweight gain. They 2/3rds need to bemedium in a * Dream of now who is not on board with that process of we need to feed thembeing to gethere their full trusted, low-stress environment. Stocking rates averaged 2.1 bulls/ha. improvement gets left behind in the dust. potential. Trials have shown that Estimated Some de-stress activities that farmers use Firing up the troops, why bother? Breeding Values (EBVs) work especially for are yard weaning calves, genetic selection The first step is getting the farmers growth. for docility, only walking when mustering motivated; the problem is farmers still Straight breeds are good for meat or droving, keeping long-term social Bull weights andand pasture conditions w don’t really feel appreciated.* It is hard to be here marketing, but can we* really groups for bulls, steers heifers, and Not OK to OK toafford be them go to war for the country when get theratewhen hybrid vigour will help the team small grazing mob numbers. the Copland’s for two years. Bulls were Lowyou stocking here Finished by 20 Months A Beef + achieve Lamb NZ project supported by MAF Sustainable feeling that they don’t really want – you as even higher liveweight gain. Extension will be critical, farmerson weaning w mobs at weaning based & medium to low LWG Farming Fund andhigh HineEBVs Rangi Trust part of the team. Mixing from individual can’t do this on their own, they need liveweight for each mob is shown in th = financial disasterbreeds such as Angus and Simmental Page 2 in a pool of trusted If you are going to go to war you must to brew their ideas Overand the two seasons, liveweight gains have someone believe in you. ThereStocking needs through mentors.  rate crossbreeding (hybrid vigour) will mates averaged 0.55 kg/head/day, spring 1.3 to be a real political commitment to produce some scary liveweight gain genetic supporting this fire-up of our farmers. • Peter Andrew is an AgFirst director and summer 0.90 kg/day. High stocking rate and low LWG systems arepotential. more suitable for properties with medium High stocking and low LWGlikely are likely totargets be As aquality country I suspectrate we have athe Itsystems is no use having high growth EBVswith if flexibility consultant. to poor pastures. Getting right stocking rate and achievable

Farm background

Cattle LWG


more suitable for properties with medium tosustainability. poor quality to handle climatic variances is critical to optimising profit and pastures. Getting the right stocking rate and achievable May 2020 targets with flexibility to handle climatic variances is

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Bull liveweights

Overall the achievement of liveweight a was largely determined by the weight o 51 The LWG of the two heavy and medium


Above: Calves at weaning last year with fiveyear-old William feeding. Left: The Hoban calves a few months after weaning.

Watching calf prices tumble BY: JAMES HOBAN


utumn calf sales have offered sellers rewarding prices across four good years. The calf price had been reasonably solid for three selling rounds with an apparent new bottom. This buoyancy has come to a crashing halt in 2020. Calf prices started low and have continued to drop with Covid-19 and widespread drought seemingly to blame. At the time of writing we have our own selling decision to make. We have spent three years increasing cow numbers and selling only small lines of calves. Our

plan was to sell 100 calves in 2020 – up from 60 in 2019 and 25 in 2018. We have previously sold some spring store cattle after wintering them on fodder beet and sold weaned calves in autumn as well as finishing cattle. With steer calves trading at $2.80$3.00kg liveweight and heifers at $2.502.70kg LW what is best – selling now or selling in spring? If we hold calves we have to accept the risks of a further price drop off a difficult winter. There are always stories of people buying calves in autumn, filling them with feed through winter and selling them in spring for a disappointing margin.

Table one compares March sale prices with spring sales. Line one shows the steer calf price for traditional beef breed lines at the first Culverden calf sale, always around March 22 while line two shows the same calculations from the Culverden Spring cattle sale around October 20. While the sale prices vary across regions Culverden offers a reasonable yardstick for our calf selling options. It was also the only local sale completed before Covid-19 interrupted proceedings this year. If we look to sell 230kg steer calves now they will be worth $690 at $3.00/kg. Table two shows what they could be worth in spring at various weights and a range of prices.

Table 1: Steer price ($ per kg LW) 2015 Culverden Calf Sale - Approx March 22 Culverden Spring Sale - Approx October 20




















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May 2020


Table 2 Sale price per kg Scenario




Growth rate 1000g/d 210 days on farm = 210kg gain, sell at 440kg




Growth rate 700g/d 210 days on farm = 147kg gain, sell at 377kg




Growth rate 400g/d, 210 days on farm = 84kg gain, sell at 314kg




If we keep calves they will spend winter on fodder beet and balage. Assuming we sell them at the October sale and they spend 100 days on fodder beet, what does it cost to winter them?

What does it cost to keep the calves? 90 days on fodder beet

DM eaten

Transition - 21 days - kg DM per calf


Full allocation - 69 days - kg DM per calf


Total fodder beet eaten per calf (kg DM)


Fodder beet crop Cost $2,500 per ha to grow Yield


Utilisation - 90% - total kg DM eaten/ha


Feed cost per kg DM


Value of fodder beet consumed per calf


Balage cost - per calf, wholecrop - 90 days, $0.25 per kg DM, 90% utilisation


Total cost of 90 days winter feed


Plus 120 days on grass - 5kg DM per day average at 18c value


Plus animal health


Total cost of keeping calf


For this exercise a yield of 20 tonnes is used as well as actual costs for growing and making whole-crop balage and growing the fodder beet. These are variables which could be different on other farms. The total cost of feeding a calf in this situation is $274. This figure does not allow for deaths, commission and debt servicing. For any scenario from table two to be worthwhile, it must cover the autumn sale price of $690 plus the feeding costs of $274 plus any other costs which arise. Sale price must be $964 in October to break even on that calf. Table two shows that there is a profit margin provided animals achieve reasonable growth rates and the price does not crash into new territory. At the five-year average spring price of $3.37/ kg LW and 700g growth rate a calf will sell for $1270. This is a profit of $306.

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May 2020

Beef cattle’s benefit to grazing management BY: TOM WARD


was reminded yesterday of an old maxim: “Sheep graze from the bottom up, cattle from the top down”. Sir Sidney Kidman, the iconic Australian grazier of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, later in his career leaned more to beef than sheep, and was criticised for that. But he could see the advantages of cattle. The variation in pasture covers on unirrigated hill country properties in south and mid Canterbury, appears in part to be influenced by cattle to sheep ratios. In the last month, where significant parts of mid and south Canterbury have received 30mm of rain, some dryland farmers have grown 30kg drymatter (DM)/ha/day of good-quality pasture, with no nitrogen applied, to have pastures ready to graze with cattle at 2500kg DM/ha cover. A month ago these dryland pastures were bare and brown. Others have made no progress. Dryland farmers struggling to move into a strong autumn pasture position typically have a high proportion of sheep. They may also have a relatively high stocking rate, low nitrogen and legume levels, and a high proportion of poor pasture and weed species. Those who manage droughts well keep the pasture in a growing state through the drought, so it should be grazed when fresh and green, then rested until after the rain. Leaving pasture to grow long and stalky does not conserve moisture, the opposite in fact.


Those who manage droughts well keep the pasture in a growing state through the drought, so it should be grazed when fresh and green, then rested until after the rain.

Above: ‘Sheep graze from the bottom up, cattle from the top down.’


Cattle, particularly adult dry cattle and cows, can consume any dry surplus better than sheep, who will tend to head for the short green feed at the base, the cattle leaving a higher post-grazing residual. To achieve this “rest” various strategies may be needed, ie: reduced demand via early weaning of ewes and cows, or destocking and supplement feeding. Cattle can be sold early summer. Cattle which need to be retained can be virtually “feedlotted” – held on one paddock and be fed good-quality supplement. This avoids pastures being over-grazed, and should be continued after the drought breaks to allow pastures to recover. This is where a moderate stocking rate is useful – feed conserved in a good year can be fed out in a dry season. On uncultivatable hill country, cow body condition can be utilised when feed is short. When it rains, pastures can recover in the following ways: 1. Plants with green leaves get growing again, 2. Plants with all leaves dead or grazed off can begin to tiller and 3. Plants where most have died will recover from seed. It doesn’t take many brains to work out which option is best. If you keep stock off the droughted pastures in the period immediately after rain, option 1 will recover in three or four weeks, option 2 in three or four months and option three in 18 months. Those pastures which reach total defoliation or death are going to revert to poorer species and weeds. However, if autumn pasture post drought is still short, but greened up and growing, applying urea, the cheapest source of supplement, becomes an option. Next spring’s pasture performance is reliant on pastures going into the winter in a healthy state. This means they need to grow well through the autumn so there is sufficient leaf for photosynthesis to be optimised and root reserves can be replenished. Cattle can be used to control surplus spring growth, preparing pastures for lamb fattening. They also break the intestinal worm cycle – farms with very high (say 50%) cattle ratios generally have very good sheep performances. This is partly due to cattle benefiting

sheep health, and also the sheep getting to graze higher covers of better-quality pasture – simply being better fed. Farmers who have learnt to use scarce soil moisture through growing legumes have also reduced their sheep or at least their breeding ewes as a proportion of total stock units. This is in part because their improved systems allow higher gross margin trading systems to be run, but also because breeding ewes and their hogget replacements remain relatively inflexible and because, as mentioned earlier, cattle can be used to graze to a higher post-grazing residual. Cattle are harder on water supply and an inability to upgrade water systems will limit cattle, however they are cheaper to fence and have a lower manpower requirement. In a bad drought breeding cows may need to be grazed off or sold. In general, more feed can be grown with cattle than sheep because pastures under cattle will have higher pre and post-grazing covers. In addition breeding ewes set stocking at lambing suppresses growth and regrowth. Southland sheep farmers may have got around this issue. Bill Wright in South Canterbury who farms 360 effective hectares has, following the introduction of lucerne and sub clover, changed from 2400 crossbred breeding ewes and replacements plus 50 cattle, to 1000 ewes, replacements purchased, 300 R1 cattle and 300 R2 cattle. His EBIT is in the top quintile of beef and lamb survey farms for class 6 land. Bruce and Scott Wills, who farmed 800 effective ha on the western end of the Napier Taupo Road, 14 years ago wintered 9000 SU consisting 6000 ewes and replacements and a few cows, selling lambs store and calves as weaners, a 85/15 sheep/cattle ratio. When the farm sold last year, the brothers were wintering 7000 SU consisting 2000 ewes and replacements, fattening 3000 lambs to 19 kg CW, and 1000 cattle including 350 cows and 90 replacement heifers. They fattened 300-400 two-year-old cattle per year, a 60/40 cattle/sheep ratio. The new owners have continued with a similar system and made some more changes. The 2000 ewes are now lambed in July, and replacements purchased. The cattle numbers have been maintained at 1000, the cows have been dropped, and 500 traded cattle fattened at 15-20 months of age. The cattle can be slaughtered at any time over the summer and a reticulated stock water system has been installed over three quarters of the farm. • Tom Ward is an Ashburton-based farm consultant.

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Cows work hard on steep hills An 800-cow Angus herd is an essential component of an East Coast hill country sheep operation. Russell Priest reports.


ehind many successful hill country sheep breeding and finishing operations is a cow herd. Tolaga Bay’s Mangaheia Station is one of these, relying on an 800-strong Angus cow herd to do the hard yards and keep unrelenting pressure on the steep hill country pastures so the sheep can flourish. And flourish they do, for the last two years delivering an impressive $172/ ssu gross (within the top 10% for the district) helped by a staggering record 173% lambing percentage this year (lambs weaned to ewes wintered) and an average lamb slaughterweight of 19.5kg. Average lamb returns for the last two years have ranged between $145-$152. “Cows are absolutely essential to the success of our sheep operation,” manager Leo Edgington said. “They are irreplaceable to the extent that I consider their calves are merely a by-product of their vital role but a worthwhile one.” Situated 45 minutes north of Gisborne and five minutes from the historic Tolaga Bay wharf iconic Mangaheia Station (2720ha – 2400ha effective) is owned by Annette Couper and has a long history of innovative and committed management. Edgington, 37, was mentored by the previous manager of 40 years, Howard Ingles. Ranging in altitude between 20 and 400 metres above sea level the station consists


of some steep north-facing country, a lot of good medium contour country and some flats (5%). Ten percent is cultivable. The area is normally considered winter wet and summer dry with an annual rainfall of 1400mm arriving mostly from the east and north-east with little if any from the north, west and south. Renowned for its mild winters when pastures continue to grow throughout, Mangaheia’s most challenging farming period is during the summer. They’ve got some hard north-facing country that can dry out and in some years, this occurs much earlier than others. “The weather’s been all over the show lately with dry springs and wet summers, so we really don’t know what we’re going to get nowadays.” Hill soils are clay-based (sedimentary) while the flats are classified as Waihirere silt loam. Soil fertility levels are excellent indicative of a long history of regular fertiliser applications. Olsen phosphates are 25 on the hills and 40 on the flats, pH ranges between 5.6 and 5.7 and sulphurs are low requiring regular applications of both sulphate and elemental forms. The early lambing country representing 30% of the station receives 300kg/ha of Flexi-N annually in early June while the rest of the hill country gets 225kg/ha of super (sulphur super every second year) in late July. A total of 600 tonnes of fertiliser is applied annually. Subdivided into 55 paddocks with

traditional eight-wire post-and-batten fences, the station prides itself in its excellent infrastructure. An 11-stand, 3000 night-pen woolshed and yards, new cattle yards and numerous satellite yards as well as excellent accommodation for its farm employees all contribute to ranking Mangaheia in the top 10% in the district for capital investment. Cows are the backbone of Mangaheia having to compete with sheep all their lives on meagre rations and Leo is the first to admit they are definitely treated like second-class citizens. “That’s the best way we can make the system work.” They must keep on top of those seed heads and maintain pasture quality for the sheep otherwise their performance levels will drop. To achieve this, cows are set stocked on the steep hills most of their lives

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May 2020

The station ranges in altitude between 20 and 400 metres above sea level. Photos supplied.

only being mobbed up for mating and at weaning. Even when rearing calves the cows are made to work hard because Leo maintains that 90% of the pastures have to be cleaned up by early autumn to ensure a good clover set. They don’t want to have to be cleaning pastures up over the winter. “Because we get kind winters with good growth, we know we can push the country pretty hard over this period allowing us to carry enough stock to control the spring flush.” By weaning the cows will have done their job allowing them to be set stocked over the steeper hill country. Every 40 days throughout the winter each of the paddocks they are in will be invaded by a large mob of hungry ewes forcing them to live on rushes and fresh air until significant regrowth occurs for them to be able to get their teeth into.

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May 2020

Their steep hills are too fragile to have large mobs of cows being rotated over them during the winter so the ewes do this. Because winters are short and growthy they avoid long rotations. “The cows live on the steep faces and you seldom see them hanging around gateways.” Dry R2 heifers are not excluded from this tough love being set stocked like the cows and made to face the ewe tsunami every 40 days. Because the cows are competing with ewes all their lives constitution needs to be Leo’s highest priority when selecting herd sires and replacement females. “It’s vital the cows can compete and get back in calf. “We do a lot of culling on constitution and type getting rid of any extreme females that are either too big or too small and also cull any dries and wet dries.”

KEY POINTS: • Area 2720ha (2400ha effective). • 24,000SU at 10SU/ha. • Sheep to cattle ratio of 67:33. TOLAGA • Mostly steep-toBAY medium hill country, some flats. • Breeding own bulls selling surplus. • Cows grazing hills essential to sheep operation • Cattle sell well at annual yearling cattle fair. • Average in recent years is 400kg and $1300-$1400.

›› Breeding bulls to fill gap p58 57

Above: The cattle yards are among the station’s excellent infrastructure. Left: Mangaheia bull team.

Breeding bulls to fill gap In recent years Leo has been finding it increasingly difficult to buy bulls to meet his strong maternal breeding objectives. So three years ago he started breeding their own bulls. A hundred of the top cows were selected and mated to appropriate “stud” bulls with the cows and calves being recorded on Breedplan using their PRAC (Performance Recorded Angus Cattle) register. This enables Leo to benchmark their recorded cattle against all Breedplan recorded cattle in Australasia. The intention was to breed their own bulls, however they had inquiries from a number of commercial Angus breeders


looking for good affordable Angus bulls. Their aim is to sell up to 25 surplus twoyear- old bulls. “This year will be the first year we will be doing this.” The station’s cattle breeding objectives are aimed at producing a moderate-framed robust female with moderate growth, the ability to store fat on her back, calve without assistance and get back in calf in three cycles. He didn’t want the calves to be so small at birth that their survival is compromised so he will be focusing on the calving ease EBVs rather than birthweight. “If you keep on using low birthweight

bulls and retaining their female progeny in your herd you’ll end up with a serious herd calving problem.” He will use a low birthweight bull to mate the recorded 15-month heifers but won’t keep any of their progeny. To date Leo has not mated the commercial 15-month heifers because he believes he has enough high-priority mobs on the station and wanted to concentrate on the hogget mating programme which he considered higher priority. Bulls are introduced to the 210 twoyear-old commercial heifers on November 20 for two cycles with the bulls going out with the MA commercial cows on December 10 for three cycles. About 900 cows and heifers go to the bull with about 750 being calved. The bull-mating ratio is 1:40. The most recent bulls bought have been from Gisborne’s Kaharau and Rangitira Angus studs, however in future these will be sourced from their own recorded herd with only the occasional stud sire being bought to service their elite herd. Leo has normally paid about $10,000 for their station bulls. The average in-calf rate is 96% and calving, 89% based on cows wintered.

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May 2020

Cows are calved without any supervision among the ewes in the paddocks they have spent winter in. Weaning takes place about March 15 in gateways between paddocks where cows and calves are separated using horses and left to settle down for about three days with only a fence between them. After this calves are quietly moved away and drenched before being set stocked on paddocks with better covers. “I don’t yard-wean the calves because there are too many of them (more than 700) but the system we use works well with the calves settling down relatively quickly. I do however yard-wean the recorded calves.” Average weaning weights of calves is 220-230kg for the commercials and 240250kg for the recorded ones. Wintering the weaner steers takes place on crops of kale, swedes, winter rape and a picking of grass on some of the easier hill country subdivided into blocks using temporary electric fences. In early November when the dry weather starts to slow pasture growth all the yearling steers are trucked off to the Matawhero saleyards in Gisborne and sold at the annual yearling cattle fair for excellent money. “We’ve topped the traditional breed section of entries at the fair for the last 10 years. Last year the steers’ average weight was 400kg and we got $1480 with our average over recent years being somewhere between $1300 and $1400.” The weaner heifers are set stocked over the winter with the ewe hoggets on some of the easier hill country. Culling of these takes place before the second winter with about 210 kept as replacements and the balance being killed before their second winter at 230kg – 240kg. The soils on Mangaheia are copper deficient so all cattle receive a copper bullet before the winter and a 7-in-1 vaccination with the tail-end cows getting a liver fluke drench. Weaners get drenched at weaning and four times throughout the winter. The station grows an annual crop of 70ha of kale, swedes and winter rape on some of the easier hill country. This is aerially sown and is fed to the weaner steers during the winter. In the spring the area is resown in high yielding perennial ryegrasses and clover. Sixty hectares of dry-tolerant chicory and 50ha of clover are used to finish lambs over the summer.

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Station staff: The station breeds its own horses with each shepherd breaking in one to two horses each winter.

Bearing problem solved The sheep are unquestionably the economic powerhouse of Mangaheia, thanks to all the hard work done by the breeding cows. The 10,500 mainly Romney ewes based on Hildreth and Teutenberg genetics with a splash of Brickle Perendale through them are made up of 3500 B flock ewes which go to the Southdown ram. About 7000 A flock ewes mated to Romney and Perendale rams. Ram-out date for the B flock ewes is February 15, for the A flock is March 20 and the 4000 ewe hoggets is April 20 (mated to Southdown rams). Rams are run with the MA ewes and 2ths for 45 days and the hoggets 40 days. The B flock scans 175% and docks 140%. The A flock 2ths scan 175% and dock 145% while the A flock MA ewes scan 193% and dock 160%. and the 3200 ewe hoggets that get in lamb scan 120% and dock 100%. They don’t have a cut-off mating weight for the hoggets. “If the small ones do get in-lamb we pump the high-octane feed into them so they are a good size at lambing. “We get most of our hoggets to 60kg by lambing.” Dry hoggets are on high-quality feed and killed in July. Leo aims to keep ewes in good condition most of the year and flush them for a period of 20 days starting 10

days before the rams go out. Fifty days after the ram-out date the ewes are put on a maintenance ration followed by a month of sub-maintenance feeding designed to reduce internal fat levels. “This seems to have solved our bearing problem,” Leo said. This concept is supported by an exfarmer who practised this more than 20 years ago. Weaning of the B flock ewes occurs about November 15 when Leo expects to POM (process off mum) 60% to 70% of their lambs at 18kg and at the same time kill 2000 of the old ewes. Getting these off the station as well as the yearling steers takes a lot of pressure off dwindling feed supplies. The A flock ewes are weaned during the first week in December with 2500 of their wether lambs being POM at 17.5kg. Leo aims to POM 6000 lambs before Christmas at an average weight of 17.5kg. All ewes are shorn in January and June including the ewe lambs/hoggets. In total 22,000 sheep are shorn in January including the remaining Romney wether lambs. Staff on Mangaheia include a manager (Leo Edgington), three shepherds, a cook and a tractor driver/general. The station breeds its own horses with each shepherd breaking in one to two horses each winter.



Beef cow the bee’s knees Joanna Grigg advocates why the humble beef cow should rightly hold her place on New Zealand hill country.


ome say the environmental impacts of animal agriculture are extremely concerning. But a sustainably-farmed beef production system is an ideal use of hill country. With improvements to winter grazing, lower artificial nitrogen fertiliser use, moreefficient feed conversion and low emission technologies, they will become even more sustainable. During the Covid-19-era, earnings generated from food production, with the ability to function during social distancing, are worth gold to New Zealand. This period of disruption could be the ideal time to press home the worth of the beef cow and the food safety and sustainability of NZ’s systems to consumers. Since the 1990s, the sheep and beef


sector has made major productivity and eco-efficiency gains and is now producing more from less. Beef cattle numbers have declined 23% (4.59 million in 1990 to 3.73m in 2014) but production grew 20%. Absolute greenhouse gas emissions from sheep and beef farms are 30% below 1990 levels while the sector’s contribution to GDP has doubled to $5 billion, reports Beef + Lamb New Zealand. Greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram (kg) of saleable product have dropped by 40% and nitrate leaching per kg of saleable product has declined by 21%. This is due to faster growth rates, increased finishing weights and increased meat yield per hectare (ha). Modelling of greenhouse gases (GHG) on 32 sheep and beef farms (AgFirst study, 2019) showed an average of 3.1 tonnes/GHG/ha with a range of 0.9 to 5.1. When turned into kg C02 per kg of

product produced, the average was 16kg of C02 emitted. The emissions intensity figures were reported by AgFirst as good by international standards, reflecting the efficiency of NZ farming systems. Success in the low-methane sheep breeding programme (PGgRc) has led to the establishment of a NZ Dairy Genetics collaborative working group, to develop breeding options for low-methane emitting cattle. Stud breeders that select for cow longevity, high in-calf rate and higher growth rates are all helping produce a cow with lower emissions over her lifetime. Using dairy cattle to produce beef helps both meat and milk industry emissions. A beef cow is able to convert poorquality, low-energy pasture on steep hill country, without irrigation, to a product with 21% protein (typical protein found

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May 2020

The cow – a food and environmental heroine

Cattle improve pasture quality for sheep, and improve lamb growth rates.

Stud breeders that select for cow longevity, high in-calf rate and higher growth rates are all helping produce a cow with lower emissions over her lifetime. Using dairy cattle to produce beef helps both meat and milk industry emissions. in manufacturing beef). Beef is a good source of zinc (important for immunity) and iron (red blood cell production). Beef is harvested off the hills with dog energy, not fossil fuel. Mobs of cattle can control long dry grass which poses a serious fire risk. Burning or eating grass both release greenhouse gases but cattle are far more targeted and pose less risk to infrastructure and lives. Plus beef is a handy by-product of their fire risk reduction work. Prime steer and heifer returns averaged $5.40/kg in 2018/19 (B+LNZ Economic Service average of all classes) and brought in $162,000 of revenue/farm. While this is about 26% of total farm revenue, they also add value to other enterprises. Cattle improve pasture quality for sheep, having a direct link to lamb growth rates in particular. The ideal breeding cow number for pasture control is estimated at 80 mixed-age cows per 1000 ewes on hill country farms. Cattle consume sheep parasite larvae from pasture. Changing the sheep/beef balance would increase the need for

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drenching sheep, and increase parasite resistance to anthelmintics. Beef co-exists with indigenous biodiversity. Sheep and beef farms have 24% of NZ’s indigenous habitat (2.7 million hectares). Farmers’ possum control work, for reducing TB risk to cattle, also improves the health of shrub and forestland. Farmers privately fund weed and pest control work – a huge saving to public coffers. Sheep and beef cattle production are the dominant land uses in terms of land area, utilising 76% or 8.3 million ha of NZ’s grazing land. About 71% of beef cattle are in the North Island. Is converting hills to plant-based agriculture the answer? The hills are steep, a mosaic of pasture and shrub and trees and unnegotiable for most tractors. What crop grows on dryland hills, in amongst other species, and can be harvested readily with a dog? Pine trees can create useful timber but you can’t eat timber. The humble beef cow should rightly hold her place on NZ hill country.

• Turns poor quality grass into digestible protein for humans (21g protein/100g of manufacturing beef) • Beef can be stored on the hill until required (annual crops have to be harvested) • Beef boosts health (zinc and iron for immunity) • Help manages fire risk • Flexible feeders during feed pinch • Profitability – average cattle revenue $166,000/farm predicted for 2019/20 all classes, (B+L NZ Economic Service, 2019) • Parasite reduction effect for sheep • Grooms pastures so direct effect on ewe nutrition and lamb growth • Compatible with indigenous biodiversity (typical farm has 24% cover) • Naturally farmed product with consumer appeal • Efficient. Greenhouse gases per hectare (C02 equivalent) dropped 30% since 1990 while beef production increased 20%. • Correctly managed can limit nutrient and sediment losses to water

›› Cattle set-up big lambs p62 61

Left: Rob Peter credits his outstanding yield of 96% of single lambs sold at 90 days at 21kg carcase, to annual clover on hill country. This clover is set-up by his cattle over the previous summer.

Cattle set-up big lambs BY: JOANNA GRIGG


t holds the national record for the driest three month and six months on record but there is still a place for cattle. Rob and Sally Peters’ coastal Marlborough property, Cape Campbell, can go months without rain but the Peters see cattle as easy traders. It makes them ideal for the boom:bust growth pattern. Cattle stocking rate at can range from “one cow per square kilometre” at the worst to five per hectare (ha) fully stocked, Rob Peter says. Despite the challenge to produce cattle feed, cattle have increased in portion on the 1320ha farm to 40% of total stock units. The balance is Corriedale/Poll Dorset/Texel-cross ewes, bringing total winter stocking rate to around 4.5/ha. “Last year we built up to seven hundred cattle, including buying in 96 Friesian/ Hereford heifers in-calf to an Angus bull.” “I can sell the young cattle and get


back to my 200 base cows.” “Buying in sheep is tricky as new sheep aren’t trained to avoid our dams. Our flock know to keep clear in droughts and avoid getting stuck.” They run two cow herds – one with autumn calving, the other spring, to spread the risk in dry years. The annual incalf rate is a tidy 96%. Typically, either one of the Fielding and Canterbury markets for store cattle is strong. This autumn Rob is waiting for rain in the North Island before marketing his store stock. It’s a waiting game but one made easier by access to a small area of the 490ha Windbreaker Stone Pine plantation/ orchard next door. “We were really grateful for a chance to graze the Pinoli pine nut block this March, following the drought.” Pinoli is the only producer of pine nuts in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a win-win for both. Cattle eat down the long grass, allowing the pickers of the cones to access the trees in winter and help them see where they are walking on

rough country. Cattle turn the standing flammable grass into protein and deposit nutrients back for trees. Andy Wiltshire, of Pinoli, said the trees in this block are nine years old and able to handle cattle grazing around them. The key is not leaving cattle in too long, keeping them with grass ahead of them and distracted from nibbling on the top branches, he said. “We will be watching them closely.” Cattle have been grazed at another site before successfully. The Cape Campbell site grew 820 lambs out as two-tooths, grazing on rotation through the trees. “These trees provide shade and shelter for stock and, as their root system is so much deeper than a pinus radiata tree, they don’t suck the water from the top soil.” “They reach harvest peak around 27 years and can live to 100 years, and they don’t act like wilding pines as the cones fall straight down and are removed.” Wiltshire sees huge potential for integration of the orchard/plantation with livestock and carbon sequestration, bringing benefits on many levels. He would like to see them accepted in the Emissions Trading Scheme. Currently they are considered orchard trees and ineligible. “These trees have the remarkable ability to adapt their form to different sites. On this site the trees are smaller and bushier because of the wind. “Underneath you find green grass because of the microclimate they create.” At home, the Peters use cattle to eat down long dry grass over summer, to allow the annual clovers to access sunlight and flourish following germination with autumn rain. “We are very reliant on cattle to open up our sub-clover hill country.” The farm blocks range from 40ha up to 120ha. Pastures are typically danthonia, ryegrass, cocksfoot and sweet vernal pastures with Mt Barker subterranean clover, and some plantain and white clover in the wetter areas. Last season Cape Campbell averaged 96% of single lambs weaned prime off the ewe at 90 days, averaging 21kg CW. This is

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Above: Pine nuts with your steak. The integration of two food production systems: pine nuts and beef, on Marlborough coastal hill country.

the long-term average now, rather than the exception. “This is at least four hundred grams a day growth rate in spring.” The twins were sold at 100 days and averaged 19kg CW. Rob Peter credits his outstanding lactation growth rates to annual clover on hill country, set-up by his cattle over the previous summer. Of 700 single lambs reared, only 30 didn’t make the grade. Rob said his cows can soak up surplus

feed in summer, getting to condition score (cs) four out of five, then lose weight over winter to 2.5 as the lowest, without affecting their production. “What else can do that? “Our finished two-and-a-half-year steers have returned over $2000 a head, two years in a row.” Rob and Sally respond to comments about cows being bad for the environment as saying stocking rates to match the property and soils is key. “We don’t break feed crops, choosing to put five calves per hectare on a 20ha crop, and letting them have the run.” The Peters are prepared to lose some utilisation for lighter impacts on soils and possible sediment loss. “Our beef profits have gone into extensive pest control along the beach and lighthouse area. We’re establishing a Little Blue Penguin habitat area to try and get them back and have three QEII covenants and one DOC covenant.” “It all goes hand in hand.”

›› Grazing stops fire risk p65


Need an Angus bull CONSIDER THIS . . .

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Our complete program (all 300 cows) is focused on ease of calving and heifer mating Good selection of bulls with growth and carcass attributes without compromising ease of calving


FERTILITY Calve as 2 yr old Only 43 days mating - cows Only 30 days mating - heifers Cull everything that doesn’t rear a calf

100 Yearling Angus bulls at our Annual sale, on farm

2nd Sept 2020, 12.30pm




Monday 22nd June, 9.00am Paddock viewing available from 7.00am

CHARITY BULL all proceeds from a lot* will be donated to our local Eastland helicopter rescue trust.

*Charity lot will be chosen on the day of sale and announced prior to bidding.

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Sale onsite at the Tangihau Angus sale complex located at:

Tangihau Station, 119 Taumata Road, Rere, Gisborne Tangihau Angus will offer up to 40 two year bulls for sale that will be inspected and passed for transfer prior to the sale. The sale will be conducted alongside Cricklewood Angus.

ENQUIRIES TO: Dean McHardy (06) 867 0837 (027) 242 5321


Ian Rissetto (06) 838 8604 (027) 444 9347



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May 2020

Left: Lactating cows should be applauded for eating this fire hazard. Burning a tonne of grassland emits about 1.5 tonnes of C02 plus some methane and nitrous oxide. Cows emit too but don’t threaten infrastructure and trees, and have beef to show at the end of it.

Grazing stops fire risk The beef cow is a mobile fire warden. Standing dry pasture is a fire risk that can be reduced through eating off and squashing down – speeding up the regenerating process. In Western Australia, savannah management is around burning early with lower intensity. These early burns typically emit 52% less methane and nitrous oxide per hectare burnt, compared with late dry-season fires (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Australia, 2020). New Zealand has the luxury of higher stocking rates so can better control feed

surplus with an army of hill country cows and calves. Cattle can move over steep summer hills (unlike tractors and mowers) and remove the growing fire risk. They turn it into milk for calves, and beef worth about $5.70/kg (2019/20). Modelling shows the average sheep and beef farm produces three tonnes of greenhouse gas CO2 equivalent per hectare (AgFirst, April 2019). A Report for the NZ Fire Service Commission (2010) quantified possible emissions from different types of vegetation fires (tonnes of gas emitted per tonne of dry fuel burned). When combined with a total amount of fuel

burned it gives the total emissions of a fire incident (excluding suppression actions like helicopters). Emission figures for a tonne of dry grass fuel are 1.5t of CO2, 0.0068t methane and 0.004t nitrous oxide. Over a one-hectare paddock, carrying five tonnes of pasture fully burnt, a fire would release 7.5t of CO2, 34kg methane and 20kg nitrous oxide. That’s well above cattle emissions from the model sheep/beef system. Biologically speaking, feeding grass to stock versus burning grass both involve combustion. One happens in the atmosphere, the other in cells. However, compared to stock grazing, fire leaves nothing behind and the amount burnt would likely overwhelm the biological mechanisms to re-sequester the carbon. Careful management of cattle grazing allows plant regeneration as well as protection of soils. For these reasons the cow should be promoted on farms, council land and lifestyle blocks – think the Port Hills. Farmers should hire out a small mob to control grass on lifestyle blocks and council land, including roadsides, and be paid for the service they provide. Greenhouse gases emitted from savanna fires average 3% of Australia’s emissions.

›› Bow to the humble cow p67

BULL SALE DATE 26TH OF MAY AT 3:30PM. ANNUAL ON FARM AUCTION HELD UNDER COVER. ALAN & VAL PARK Located off state highway 4. 841 Tapuiwahine Valley Road Ongarue, Taumarunui 3997.

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p: 07 894 6030 e: Colvend Shorthorn & Angus Stud

Colvend Angus established in 2016 on females from the Oakview, Turihaua and Springdale Studs Successes at Beef Colvend Shorthorns established in 2000. ve Champions. Reser Expo 3 Supreme Champion bulls and 2

BVD tested free. TB C10


Cricklewood Angus proudly presents 6 bulls for sale at the inaugural Tangihau Angus sale 2020

Sale held at the Tangihau Sale Complex Monday 22nd June at 9.00am Paddock viewing available from 7.00am Sale located at: Tangihau Station, 119 Taumata Road, Rere, Gisborne

me o s y Enjo oast C East ality it hosp

ENQUIRIES TO – STUD MANAGER: Ben White (06) 837 8666 Humphrey Bayly (06) 837 8702

All bulls will be passed for transfer prior to the sale. 66 

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‘We’ve farmed them for years and they are still paying the bills and still paying well,’ James says about his Matariki beef cows on hill country.

Bow to the humble cow BY: JOANNA GRIGG


ames Murray has 900 beef cows and said if he didn’t have them, his sheep flock performance would be “stuffed”. “Our halfbred flock lambing percentage would drop as we couldn’t manage pasture quality.” Matariki operates a Hereford stud with 500 stud cows, at Clarence River, north of Kaikoura. It is one of three properties run by the Murrays’ as part of the wider 15,000 stock unit operation. The 1400-hectare hill and flat country carries 60% of the stock units as cattle but they earn 70% of the income. “We’ve farmed them for years and they are still paying the bills and still paying well.” When it comes to answering critics that beef on hill country is unsustainable for the environment, James said he can’t think

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of any alternative protein crops or food to grow there that would be better than a mixed meat and wool system. “I can’t think of any crops that could be planted and harvested on this country, that would generate the returns and not affect the soils.” The Murrays have stepped up their efforts to protect soil and water in their beef system. The 80ha of Clarence River flats are irrigated via two center pivots and K-line. This flat area winters 80 rising-twoyear bulls and 300 calves. “We definitely watch out for pugging on heavier flat soils and move heavy bulls off these risk areas after rain, up on to the free draining hills.” “We put up temporary wires along waterways when grazing intensely and don’t overstock cattle on crops, and always have a dry runoff.” All mixed age cows are wintered in the higher Gillings country. These 50ha

‘I can’t think of any crops that could be planted and harvested on this country that would generate the returns and not affect the soils.’ blocks are steep with manuka patches and predominately unimproved browntop/ danthonia pastures. Cows with heifer calves summer here after mating. Ewe mobs rotate through this country after weaning. James questions what other animal could be as efficient as a beef cow on hard hill. “They come in light at the end of winter, then only need a rising plane of good feed after calving to get back in calf.” “A 550kg cow weans a 260kg calf off hard hill country.”



Steps to success An award-winning Wairarapa farm business has evolved from a long-time family operation. Tony Leggett reports.


ntensity at scale is a standout feature of this year’s Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year contest winners, Stuart and Jane McKenzie. Their path to today has taken several steps of managing, leasing, and land purchasing. They now farm a total of 2106-hectare (effective) of medium hill country in the summer-dry Whangaehu Valley, north of Masterton. Their original farm, Te Rangi (999ha effective), is a fourth-generation property for Stuart’s family who first arrived in the region nearly 100 years ago. Stuart’s passion for scale and performance was shaped by earlier


stints on a few large Central North Island stations, including Otupae and Mounganui Stations, both on the NapierTaihape Road. But the opportunity to head back to his family’s Whangaehu Valley farm, Te Rangi, came unexpectedly early in his life in August 1990 at age 24 when the manager gave notice to the family he was leaving in a year’s time. “The truth is I was really loving the work on Mounganui. The manager there, Mel Smith, gave me real freedom to make decisions but was always there with advice when I needed it.” But Stuart headed to Wairarapa to manage Te Rangi and in 1994 he formed

Above: Heifers just on the drop with their first calf.


a partnership with his younger brother which enabled the pair to buy out their two sisters. His brother joined him at Te Rangi in April 1997, a month after they leased half of neighbouring property, Waihi, plus Papariki, a 40ha block of flats near Masterton which provided valuable finishing country for Te Rangi’s hills. Two years later, in March 1999, Stuart and Jane formed their own partnership and bought out his brother’s share of the original partnership. Heavily in debt to achieve the buyout, it forced a period of consolidation until early 2002 when the opportunity was taken to lease the second half of neighbouring Waihi. At the same time, they relinquished

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FARM FACTS: • Owners: Stuart and Jane McKenzie, Te Rangi Trust • Location: Whangaehu Valley, north-east of Masterton, Wairarapa • Area: 2265ha (2106.5ha effective) • Topography: Medium to steep hill country, 40ha flats, summer-dry, semi-finishing • Labour units: 7 permanent, 2 seasonal, 1 casual • Stock: 21,176 stock units, 10.1su/ha • Stock ratio: 81% sheep, 19% cattle • Gross Farm Revenue: $1064/ha (average for past four years) • Economic Farm Surplus: $847,100 (average for past four years) or $422/ha

the lease of the flat, but small Papariki block. “It was a bit like the tail wagging the dog with Papariki. We were holding stock here at Te Rangi to suit the grass growth of the Papariki block but it wasn’t working efficiently enough to keep it,” Stuart says. The following year, the McKenzies bought all the stock from the McKenzie family’s Te Rangi Trust. “When we look back on those years after 2002, they were tough times. We were doing a lot of monitoring and that with my personality traits led to a lot of time wasted on making sure things balanced.” Jane says the serious drought that hit the region in 2007-08 was particularly challenging. They were forced to move their cow herd off to grazing but it gave their remaining stock “room to move”. By 2012, they were gaining comfort from a series of better years of stock performance and climate, so when the opportunity came up to buy a 387ha chunk of the neighbouring Waihi property they had been leasing for many years, they were ready. “We got a large area of bare land that basically almost doubled in value when we added it to the home property,” Stuart says. The couple acknowledge it was a big move for them at the time as the purchase included livestock, but the equity gain in land value helped their position with their bank and made it all possible. “It took a lot of courage, but I had full

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Above: Several large areas of native bush have been fenced off on award-winning Te Rangi Station.


40 2-year-old bulls Sale Thursday 4th June - 11.30am Phone: Edward 021 704 778


A ‘B’ mob of mixed age cows is mated to Charolais bulls in a terminal sire system.

trust and faith in Stuart to make it work. I was busy with three young children and just knew he was capable of handling the extra scale it gave us,” Jane says. Stuart says they never seek growth for the sake of extra scale at any cost. But they were comfortable with the larger farm size so long as it added to the overall business. Five years later, in March 2017, the couple bought the remaining 600ha of Waihi and its livestock. “It was really perfect timing for us after we’d leased it for many years,” Stuart says. A little over a year later, in July 2018, they added a further 277ha of Wai-iti, directly over the road from their Te Rangi Station holding, after agreeing to split the whole property with a neighbour on the back side of the property. “We weren’t going to buy more hills but Wai-iti was very appealing to us. It’s limestone-based country that goes up 100m higher than home, but has less wind, is more sheltered, giving better survival over lambing and offered us a lime quarry plus a water supply from a big spring on the property,” Stuart says. So, scale is not the limiting factor now for

Mtt Mable ab e

Mt Mable Angus

35th Annual Sale on Monday 8th June 2020 Yearling bulls sold at auction Monday 21st September 2020 Consistently breeding quality, sound, quiet, easy eshing fertile angus cattle for over 50 years

• BVD Tested Clear • BVD Vaccinated • 10 in 1 Vaccinated • DNA sire veried • TB status C10 • Breedplan recorded completely free of • Herd all known genetic defects proven sound and • Only good natured NZ bred sires used in last 13 years

for fantastic • Renown heritable good natures selection • Consistent for type, structure and longevity

back three year • Money guarantee - no buyer credits distorting sale results

bulls sold at • Yearling auction 21st September 2020

Bulls this year sired by Rangatira Mack 15-32 ($50,000 bull at Rangatira 2017 sale), Mt Mable Abbadeen 1501, Kay Jay Bond H521, Mt Mable Durabull 1662, Taimate Vintage 269, MeadowsLea L275, Matauri Reality 839

Enquiries and inspection welcomed - Kevin or Megan Friel Phone: 06 376 4543 | Mobile: 027 625 8526 | Email: 625 Jacksons Road, Kumeroa (easy to find off SH2, either Oringi Rd from North or Hopelands Rd from the South) Website: 70 | Find us on facebook: Mt Mable Angus Cattle

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the McKenzies. It remains climate. Although there is around 40ha of tractor country available to crop, they believe the area is not big enough to finish enough numbers of lambs or cattle bred on the property. “We’re always conscious of the tail wagging the dog like we had with the 40ha Papariki lease block. I’m beginning to think it’s better to lift our cattle finishing capacity or we may cut balage off the flats to feed to our cows coming out of a dry summerautumn to ensure calving performance is not as compromised,” Stuart says. Despite their aim to make every hectare count, the McKenzies have been happy to retire and plant 37ha of land not suited to livestock production. They have also been working on eradicating Old Man’s Beard from the property over the past few years and this year took on the challenge of removing ‘Crack’ willow from river edges. They will continue to fence native bush areas and have a policy to plant 1000 poplar poles every year for erosion control. They are also fencing streams and planting riparian strips where appropriate.

›› November target for lambs p72

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Hereford and Angus bulls used in a criss-cross system within the Te Rangi beef cow herd.


November target for lambs

Improving lamb survival is a future focus for the McKenzies.

Te Rangi’s sheep policy is geared around maximising the number of sale lambs reaching 30kg or more by late November. To cope with the onset of dry summer weather, the McKenzies have previously killed lambs down to as low as 13.3kg carcaseweight at weaning to maximise the number leaving their property. But last spring, with a change in the schedule they opted to kill fewer and lifted their cut-off to a 14.5kg carcaseweight. Their mixed-age A flock ewes get a first cycle with Kelso composite rams from April 5 before they are replaced with terminal sire rams to add to the ram power for a second cycle. The five-year ewes are mated from the same date to Poll Dorset-Texel rams, bought from Andy and Jan Tatham’s Kaiwhata stud on the Wairarapa coastline. Their ewe lamb progeny is kept as replacements for the B flock. These B flock ewes are mated to blackface rams from March 30 to boost sale lamb numbers at weaning in November.

“There is also a group of ewes we call the early mob made up of wet-dry ewes, mostly four-tooth ewes that failed to rear a lamb as a two-tooth. These ewes are mated from March 22 and will always rear a terminal lamb unless they return wet-dry again in which case they are killed.” Two tooth ewes go to Kelso rams from April 10 for one cycle and then are replaced with terminal rams for a further cycle. Ewe hoggets are mated to homebred rams, selected from progeny out of twin-bearing second cycle ewes run with terminal rams. At docking, ram lambs are left entire from selected second cycle ewes that rear twin lambs or better and around 80-90 are mated each year to the ewe hoggets. After the initial deep draft and sale of store lambs in December, in a longstanding arrangement set up by their CR Grace drafter Johnny Griffith, another 1500 are sold in January and the balance of about 3500 are carried over till July or August.

Mount Linton breed cattle that are fertile and docile with a moderate maturity pattern and excellent carcass quality with high intra muscular fat, eye muscle area and positive rib and rump fat.

The best of both maternal and carcass characteristics YEARLING BULLS AVAILABLE FROM NOVEMBER AND 18 MONTH BULLS FROM MAY


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May 2020

‘It was a bit like the tail wagging the dog with Papariki. We were holding stock here at Te Rangi to suit the grass growth of the Papariki block but it wasn’t working efficiently enough to keep it.’ Stuart is making a conscious effort to fine-up the wool clip, again making use of the EID-tagged ewes which are mated to finer-wool sires from Kelso. Ewe lambs are shorn in January and as ewe hoggets in September. As two-tooths, they are shorn in February and again as a rising four-tooth in December. Six-tooth and full-mouth ewes are shorn in March, when the full mouth ewes are carrying a full year’s wool. Four-tooth and five-year ewes are shorn pre-lamb in May. Other than some pre-lamb treatment, drenching mixed age ewes is rare on Te Rangi. But this year around 450 lighter ewes were given a drench to prepare them for mating. Two-tooths were drenched about the same time after doing a faecal egg count and had a second Salvexin (Salmonella vaccine) jab at the same time. Ewe hoggets receive both Vibriosis and Toxoplasmosis vaccine shots, and then a booster as a two-tooth. To create a refugia mob, a mob of better-condition ewe hoggets that are scanned in lamb are undrenched leading into lambing. The remaining in-lamb ewe hoggets and the mob of around 1400 ewe hoggets heading off the farm for the late winter-spring period on grazing are given long-acting capsules mid-winter. Angus, Hereford and Charolais genetics provide the bull power on Te Rangi. Angus bulls, selected for calving ease and growth from the nearby KayJay Angus stud, are mated to the rising two-year heifers and three-year-olds before crisscrossing with the appropriate sires. The rising two-year heifers see the bull from November 20 to ensure calving is well through by the time staff are flat out on docking. Mating of the older females to an Angus or Hereford sire, from the Maungahina stud based nearby, starts from December 22. A ‘B’ selection of cows also go to

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May 2020

Charolais bulls along with any females kept from two-year heifers, after they have had their second calf by an Angus bull. The hybrid vigour in crossbreeding means they can sell about half the steer progeny at 12-14 months of age at 400kg liveweight. The remainder are finished to 295kg CW off the hills and are all off the farm by the age of 2.5 years. “The acquisition of the Wai-it property means we have the opportunity to finish more of the steers rather than selling them as stores,” Stuart says. “I feel we are better off with more cattle mouths than proportionally ramping up our winter trade lamb numbers,” he says.

Top: Neighbours and family enjoy a goose cull on a neighbouring property to the McKenzie’s Whangaehu Valley station. Above: Ewe hoggets on the move down Whangaehu Valley Road.

›› Judges notes p74 73

What the judges noted about the winners • Attention to detail means very much in control • Uses multiple technologies to assist with decision making • Has a very strong business sense which sits behind a very productive farm • Has defined plans for feed, management, selling, health and safety and environmental care • Is very active in promoting farming, supporting farming initiatives and championing the farming vision • Strong and consistent financial performance has been an enabler of significant business growth whilst also paying out family members • Focus on good infrastructure to improve management efficiency along with the workability of the property • Inclusion of children in decision making for growth of business • Outside house management keeps good capital infrastructure and relationships with staff • Runs an intensive, large scale strong store policy without the station mentality • Not a conformist, happy to try new ideas • Large and diverse staff

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Planning succession Involving their three children in making future strategic decisions is critical for Stuart and Jane McKenzie. Their youngest child, 19-year-old John, is studying Ag commerce at Lincoln University. He’s the second of the McKenzie children to study there. His oldest sister Harriet, now 23 and based in New York, was part of the second cohort of students who completed the Food & Agribusiness Marketing degree course at Lincoln. Their sister Annabel is 21 and now in her honours year in commerce at Victoria University in Wellington. “We talk about our future plans often with the children and that leads to succession planning. I think they think about it a lot more

than we know,” Jane says. Stuart says he and Jane expect to continue actively involved at Te Rangi for up to another 10 years. “Then we’ll be ready to step aside and either put in a general manager or have the flexibility to make something else work for the children and ourselves,” Stuart says. In the meantime, they will continue to look for off-farm opportunities to add to the commercial and residential property investments they already own. They are also not ruling out more land, especially if it has the scale and contour required to balance their hill country and provide scope for finishing most of their sale stock.

›› Focus on technology p76

Up to 1000 poles are planted each year for erosion control on Te Rangi Station.

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Focusing on technology Stuart McKenzie admits writing his own new job description was challenging. But he’s determined to drop day-to-day farm operational activities and concentrate on adding value by working on the business, rather than in it. A new farm manager is expected on board as soon as the Covid-19 lockdown is over and, after a period of settling him in, Stuart will take up his new general manager role. “Essentially, I don’t have any dogs myself. My job will be to focus on the business, accounts, administration, strategic thinking. It’s an evolving role!” Stuart says. Having a “finger on the pulse” is a real strength of Stuart’s success. He achieves it through his own experience as a farmer, plus extensive use of new and proven technologies. He’s a strong advocate of scenario analysis software Farmax which he uses in conjunction with a consultant to chart the progress of the farm, and to spot problems


with feed supply and demand early before they become a big issue. “We used to measure pasture supply with a pasture probe, but we’ve found that we can get as accurate a picture now by eye. By using Farmax regularly, it soon spits out the challenges that need priority thinking to sort out,” he says. The McKenzies have also introduced to staff on the property a smartphone application called Agriwebb, originally developed in Australia. Agriwebb provides his seven permanent staff and permanent casual workers with real time data via the app, which also acts as a recording device his team can use to note information that would previously have been written into a shepherd’s notebook. He also uses Dropbox to provide staff with plans and health and safety guidelines so any visitors are signed in on initial arrival, and tracks time and the safe return home of all staff. The McKenzies are also using EID tags to record the finer-woolled sheep to add some

value to the clip and to help with refugia as younger animals. The farm’s water tanks have data loggers from Wairarapa firm Harvest. These constantly send tank level data to the farm office, allowing Stuart to pinpoint leaks or faults long before there’s a major issue. “In the past, the first we knew of a problem was an empty trough. Now we can move much quicker and the peace of mind in a dry summer is amazing,” he says. A Harvest weather station has also been included at the farm, to track weather data and help with management decision making, particularly around the sale of stock. Dropbox is also used to share information with contractors, regulators, and farm input suppliers. “For instance, we use Dropbox to share the rotation map with our staff, or things like spreadsheets for livestock weights,” Stuart says. Use of technology like Farmax, Dropbox and Agriwebb was noted as a strength

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May 2020

of the farm business by the competition short-list judges, veterinarian Trevor Cook, former winner Matt Wyeth, and experienced banker, George Murdoch. Cook says Stuart’s defined plans for feed, management, selling, health and safety, and environmental care are hugely valuable, especially in a challenging farming region where climate can be such a massive influence on performance. A miserly 1050mm of rain fell for the entire 2018-19 year. Another feature noted by the judges was the investment the McKenzies have been prepared to make in infrastructure to improve management efficiency. In the 2019-20 year, nearly $207,000 was spent on repairs and maintenance on the property. The entire farm area is split into 250 paddocks and extensive laneways run between them for efficient stock movement. Water is supplied from two massive dams which feed troughs in almost every paddock on the entire property. Included in a substantial repairs and

A much younger Stuart McKenzie collecting slink skins.

maintenance spend over the past few years is the realignment of laneways, replacement of the sheep yards and improvements to holding paddocks on the Waihi property, plus a new set of cattle yards and additions to the water system at Te Rangi. “We’re now in the process of refencing

the Wai-iti property. We’re lucky to have two fencers here now working on that,” Stuart says. The farm boasts its own sheep conveyor, Racewell sheep handler, Prattley portable yards and Tru-test weigh scale units for monitoring stock weights and performance.




Andrew Powdrell, Phone (06) 838 8805 Mb: 0276 228 088 Email Rick Powdrell, Phone (06) 838 7204 Turiroa Angus Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

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Switch to pedigree profitable BY: CHRIS MCCULLOUGH


reeding the best purebred bull or heifer fit for a sale ring is the main goal for the McKay family who run the Ampertaine pedigree Limousin herd in Northern

Ireland. Based near Upperlands in County Londonderry the McKay family, William, his wife Jean and son James, established the herd back in 1986. Today the herd totals 130 pedigree cows grazed on the family’s 100-hectare farm managed by James who is married to Lynn and together they have a one-year-old son, Aston. While pedigree bulls are bred for the British Limousin Society sales at Carlisle, the McKays also breed well-fleshed commercial bulls best suited to the

commercial suckler producer in Northern Ireland. Although the family ran a commercial suckler herd alongside their pedigree herd for a number of years, the decision to move to an entirely pedigree herd was taken in 2002. In order to honour that decision the McKays brought in new female lines from the Kype and Shannas herds in Scotland and became a full pedigree herd. Each year the family sell about 40 bulls from home to suit the demand from the local market and take a further 20 bulls across the Irish Sea to sell in Carlisle. “We like selling at Carlisle as there is always a good selection of buyers both at the ring and online. Our bulls have sold well there achieving good prices over the years,” James said. Indeed those prices for the stud’s stock have been exceptional reaching 100,000



guineas back in 2017 for Ampertaine Mozart with a number of other high prices recorded. Mozart was born in January 2016 by Kype Orkney and out of Ampertaine Glamourgirl, and was the fourth Limousin bull to breach the 100,000 guineas mark. (A guinea is the British cattle sales currency. It’s basically a pound with a commission added for the sales arena. ie 10,000 guineas means the farmer receives £10,000. In each case a guinea meant one pound and one shilling (21 shillings), or one pound and five pence (£1.05) in decimal currency.) The British Limousin Cattle Society autumn bull show and sale held at Borderway Mart, Carlisle, in October 2019 saw a top price of 40,000gns (NZ$83,400) with a total of 83 bulls going under the hammer to an average of £5826 (NZ$12,030). A half share of Ampertaine Gigolo was


May 2020

Right: William McKay with one of his pedigree Limousin bulls.

sold privately to the Corporation herd, Holland, for an undisclosed five-figure sum. It’s not only bulls that sell well for James and his family as heifers with the Ampertaine prefix are also highly sought after by both pedigree and commercial farmers. For 10 years in a row the stud won the large herd category of the Limousin herd competition. Although they have not entered it in the past two years James is considering entering the competition next time. Down on the farm James is well pleased with the breed which his father William first brought to their farm in the townland of Ampertaine back in 1984 and then registered the pedigree herd two years later. “We use only AI here on the herd with mostly our own semen with no stock bulls,” James says. All sires are chosen to ensure the herd stays at the forefront of the breed and are selected to maximise ease of calving, milking ability and shape in both their males and females.

“We find the breed does not need any special feeding and can maintain themselves well on good quality silage and roughage alone,” he says. While the bull sales are important dates in the calendar for the McKay family, selling stock from the farm as well as semen are also crucial aspects of the business. Their stock has been bought by customers all over the United Kingdom

and Ireland and even the Netherlands. “We have a significant number of repeat customers every year coming back to us for more stock.” Their bulls normally sell at 16 to 18 months while the heifers are sold about 14-15 months. The commercial farmer is looking for a bull that can produce a healthy, fast growing calf that will finish at a young age about 15 months and 650kg.

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 at 3pm Eleventh on-farm bull sale at Morland – 30 Bulls Matauri Smokin Joe K286


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Quality not quantity BY: LYNDA GRAY


nvercargill executive chef Simon Henry had lots of good things to say about Hereford Prime during a World Hereford Conference lunchtime barbecue at Earnscleugh Station where he served the branded steak. He put Hereford Prime on the menu at Ascot Park’s Emberz restaurant eight years ago. It was now on the plates of about 30% of the 160 to 250 diners served each night. The introduction to Hereford Prime through chairman Laurie Paterson and secondary processor and wholesaler Bowmont Meats was perfectly timed, Henry said. “I felt totally disconnected from the beef supply chain. I was buying meat in

a plastic bag. I didn’t know where it was from and couldn’t add value to it but now, I can tell the story.” He bought Hereford Prime off the bone and ‘naked’ rather than in cryovac packs, and further value-added by aging it for another 25 days. “It’s cold cut and processed in the oldschool way.” Henry, at the plate end of the supply chain is happy with what he’s getting from Hereford Prime, but what about the farmers who supply it – are they happy about what they’re getting? It’s hard to judge although typically suppliers get 10 to 20c/kg above schedule price, brand manager Hereford Prime Natalie Campbell said. “There is some fluctuation because it’s dictated by season. Sometimes it’s higher

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Above: Hereford Prime brand manager Natalie Campbell, and chairman Laurie Paterson.

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Left: Hereford Prime is beef with a point of difference and a story, executive chef Simon Henry says.

but the minimum is 10c/kg. Freight is also typically covered for Hereford Prime suppliers.” Information on the number of individual suppliers is commercially sensitive, but the programme had grown. “We have seen some sustainable growth in throughput in the past five years, however it’s not something we take for granted and we’re always looking at ways to maintain this while also looking at options for growth and to lift throughput more. “It’s not about being the biggest; being the best is our goal.” Hereford Prime launched 25 years ago, was the first ever beef quality programme in NZ. It was owned by the NZ Hereford Association who worked with NZ family owned processing partners Bowmont Wholesale Meats in Invercargill, Magills Artisan Butchery in Te Awamutu, and Cabernet Foods in the Wairarapa. The processors paid a headage amount to NZHA for animals that met certain specifications. Ownership by the Association gave the breed’s registered bull breeders and their bull buying clients an additional selling point and another market for the progeny they produce, Campbell said. The eligibility criteria for Hereford Prime beef is 50% Hereford genetics over a British beef breed or purebred Friesian (in the Waikato).

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Oozing with growth potential A successful weaner-producing recipe is working for a Rangitikei farmer. Russell Priest reports.


trolling along the walkway at the first of the autumn weaner fairs in Feilding it was impossible to miss one striking pen of weaner bulls. Exceptionally well-grown and even with some real substance to them and oozing with growth potential, they were being offered on behalf of Marton’s Mark Godfrey. It’s not the first time Mark (51) has presented such outstanding weaner bulls for sale at this venue. In fact he’s been doing it for the last seven years and making top dollars. “The best we’ve made is $1400 for weaners that weighed 350kg,” Mark said. “The guy who bought these sold them seven months later at 650kg.” “Weights were back this year at 323kg because of the severe drought but we still made pretty good money at $1005.” Not bad for a breeding cow herd that begins calving in mid-August and is run on predominantly dry sand which started drying out significantly in November of last year and by late March resembled a desert. Mark’s developed a pretty successful weaner-producing recipe with the objective of generating the heaviest weaners he can, selling the top bulls and finishing the remaining bulls, steers and cull heifers himself. The two main ingredients of


his recipe are top genetics and strategic feeding of the cow herd. Fed according to their requirements the cows transfer surplus spring feed into their calves and onto their backs and in the summer, autumn and winter drawing on it to supplement their calves’ diet (to weaning) and their own particularly during the winter. Established eight years ago with Angus MA cows the herd now contains a significant component of Simmental blood after top-crossing with Simmental bulls every year since. “We have a significant cancer eye problem on the sand country so we need our cattle to have dark eye pigmentation,” Mark said. “We bought MA Angus cows for this reason and crossed them with Simmental bulls, however we found it difficult to source good Angus females so we started keeping the best of our Simmental Angus cross females and have been doing this ever since.” But they haven’t been just any old Simmental bulls used. Sourced from the Knaufs’ Kerrah herd at Wairoa, the largest Simmental herd in Australasia (600 cows) and run on some of the steepest hill country in New Zealand the bulls are genetically programmed to perform at a high level. And because the herd is so large both maternal and terminal strains have

R2 heifers on Mark Godfrey’s farm in Marton.

been developed to satisfy a large number of clients with a wide range of breeding objectives. This has allowing Mark to select more maternal-type bulls to satisfy his requirements. He’s not afraid either to “open up his cheque book” when buying his bulls at auction paying up to $10,000 to secure what he wants. Mark’s trait wish-list when buying bulls is topped by dark eye pigmentation. It’s mandatory for bulls to have red goggles around both eyes to reduce the chance of getting eye cancer. Temperament is his second most important trait followed by structural soundness, 200 and 600-day weights, direct and maternal calving ease and polledness. Bull longevity is extraordinary on the

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May 2020

sand country according to Mark, this being confirmed by another beef herd owner running Simmental bulls nearby. He maintains the average life expectancy of a bull is 9-10 years. Assuming a bull costs $10,000 with a disposal value of $1500 and sires eight crops of 30 calves, the bull-cost a calf works out at about $3.50. So focused is he on preventing eye cancer that any heifer entering the herd must have goggles around both eyes no matter how good she is. About 10-15 heifer replacements are put into the herd each year depending on the number of cow losses, dries and cows cast-for-age. Cow longevity is also impressive. In addition to the eye goggles, replacement heifers must be sound with

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May 2020

an acceptable temperament and good size to be eligible to enter the breeding herd. Mark doesn’t mate his heifers until they are two-year-olds because he hasn’t the flexibility in his system to do so. He also feels he’s busy enough in spring without having another high-priority class of stock to deal with. Mark is a busy man being the only permanent labour working in the business. He manages two blocks 31km apart in the southern Rangitikei, a 177-hectare sand country runoff 12km north-west of Bulls where the cow herd is run and 375ha – Tapuwai – 15km northeast of Marton which is home to a 2500ewe flock. Regular stock movement occurs between the two farms made easier by Mark having his own stock truck.

KEY POINTS: • Mark Godfrey, Marton/Bulls • Owner Tapuwai Farm Ltd • Main farm at Marton with runoff at Bulls • Total area farmed 552ha MARTON • Complex sheep and cattle breeding and finishing business • Producer of top weaner cattle • 1 labour unit manages 6500SU at 12SU/ha.

›› Warmer wintering platform p85 83

Above: Aerial view of Mark Godfrey’s sand country runoff at Bulls.

Warmer wintering platform The Bulls farm is an excellent wintering platform being two or three degrees warmer than Tapuwai and mostly dry underfoot although the water table has been unusually high the last two winters. About 20% of the farm is classed as wet-sand with the balance being dry and is all flat. Average annual rainfall is between 950 and 1000mm most of which falls in the winter/spring period. Fertility levels are good for phosphate (Olsen P 25) and low for sulphur with PHs at 6.5 for the heavy sands and 6.0 for the dry. Sulphur is a problematic element on sand country because of its mobility, disappearing through the soil profile extremely rapidly necessitating regular dressings. The annual fertiliser application is between 275 and 350kg superphosphate/ha. If covers are low going into the winter urea fortified with sulphur is applied. A substantial annual input of hay from Tapuwai helps to improve soil fertility as well as improving the organic content of the sand. The 135 cows are permanent residents at Bulls but are joined for the winter by about 950 replacement ewe

th2065 070420

hoggets (after being shorn in July), 30 18-month bulls/ steers and 45 18-month heifers all from Tapuwai. The ewe hoggets return to Tapuwai in early November and the 18-month cattle in October. All weaners except the top bull calves which are sold in Feilding in March are trucked directly to Tapuwai at weaning (end of March) where they are wintered on grass and hay behind a hot wire. In recent years Mark admits he hasn’t been able to feed his cows as well as he would have liked because of dry summers but he’s still reasonably happy with their performance. “Cows do particularly well on sand country during the summer compared with finishing stock. During this year’s drought they’ve held on particularly well considering Simmentals are not known for stacking a lot of fat on their backs. “A farm consultant once told me cows were a waste of time so I invited him to come and have a look at my cows on the sand country and the quality of the feed they were eating.” Wintering of the cows occurs on grass and hay


“we make farming ezy” 84

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‘Cows do particularly well on sand country during the summer compared with finishing stock. During this year’s drought they’ve held on particularly well considering Simmentals are not known for stacking a lot of fat on their backs.’ in three age-group mobs behind hot wires, designed to minimise dominance. Beginning in June and going through to early November when the calves are docked and the bulls go out, this system requires regular visits by Mark particular over the winter and calving period. During this time about 300 round bales are fed out using an ingenious system that doesn’t require heavy machinery. Mark aims to mine some cow condition over the winter until calving begins in mid-August. As cows calve the size of the grass breaks are increased with a view to improving cow condition before the bulls go out on November 10. Mark admits this increased grass intake can lead to the occasional calving complication in latercalving cows.

The herd delivers a calving percentage in the early 90s based on cows to the bull. Once the bulls go out the electric fences come down and the three cow groups enter their own individual rotations until the bulls come out at the end of January. “It’s a long mating period however because I’m an absentee owner. I don’t get down there regularly over the spring/ summer so it’s just convenient for me to take them out then. “The cows and heifers are scanned and embryo aged enabling me to cull the late cows.” Mark targets Feilding’s first weaner fair in March in which to sell his specially selected weaner bulls. He believes in presenting as even a line of weaners as possible so when the calves


Mark Godfrey with Simmental cross cows at his Bulls farm.

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P: 027 444 1937 E:


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are marked any off-coloured bulls are castrated (normally only about 12-15) with the smaller ones being left entire. “I thought the weaner job might be better this year so I left more bull calves entire, however the grass just didn’t grow so my sale weights weren’t as good as usual.” The steers are used as a buffer between the bulls and the heifers. During the summer the bull calves destined for the weaner fair along with their mothers are drafted off and grazed on 35ha of the only wet-sand block on the farm where there’s normally more feed and better regrowth. At Tapuwai, Mark’s aim is to grow the male weaner calves at a minimum of 0.5kg/ day during the winter and the heifers a little less and to kill most of them except for the replacement heifers before their second winter. He is the first to admit, however, they are not fed as much as they should be. The heifers are killed at about 210kg carcaseweight (CW) and the bulls 270kg. Any bulls and heifers not finished by 18 months together with the 18-month steers are wintered at Bulls and finished the following spring. The 30-month bulls are killed at about 350kg and the steers at 330kg CW.

Simmental herd sires.

›› Home for Coopworths p88

Red, White & Roans of our world

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Bulls for sale by Private Treaty Online Incalf Heifer sale: Bidr - 29th May 2020

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May 2020



495 Potaka Road, RD 1, Aria, King Country Ph/fax (07) 877 7881 • Email:


Home for Coopworths

MA “B” flock ewes at Marton farm.


Tapuwai is normally home to about 2500 Coopworth ewes of which 650 MA and 710 two-tooths are mated with Coopworth rams. Suffolk rams are mated with 850 “B” flock and 315 old ewes that reared twins and triplets last year. Cull two-tooths (150) are joined with Sufftex rams. All ewes except the MA Coopworths are exposed to teaser rams for 17 days before the entire rams go out on February 22 for two cycles. The MA Coopworth ewes are joined with Coopworth rams on March 10. The average mating weight of ewes is 62-64kg. This year more older ewes have been mated than normal with an expectation that scanning will reveal more dries than usual. Mark will decide on final winter numbers after scanning. Tapuwai, when it was 45ha smaller, used to carry 4000 Coopworth ewes during the era when high stocking rates, low lambing percentages and high animal health bills were common.

“At this time we felt the ewes weren’t milking well enough so we put a splash of East Friesian through the flock, however, we soon realised that feeding the ewes better achieved a similar result.” Mark has been gradually reducing the stocking rate and concentrating on feeding stock better to improve per head performance. He concedes it is a balancing act he hasn’t yet completely mastered and is the first to admit he needs to feed his stock better at times. The issue has been exacerbated by recent droughts. Ewe hoggets are not mated as Mark believes his present simple system of wintering them at Bulls works well and lambing them would add another highpriority stock class to his system. “I used to struggle to get above 135% lambing with my 2ths and realised after grazing them off-farm as hoggets for a couple of years and getting 165% that I wasn’t feeding them enough. Now that I

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Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

Right: Mark with his best mate at the highest point on the farm.

winter them at Bulls I’m able to feed them better and normally they scan around 170%.” Vetdectin and selenium are used to drench ewes immediately before the rams go out. “I used to just drench them with selenium however a couple of years ago there was an outbreak of Barbers Pole during mating so now I take preventative measures.” Both Coopworth and Suffolk rams are bought from local breeders, the Sherriffs. Mark looks to buy Coopworth rams that have a high maternal index targeting facial eczema tolerance, survival and growth, particularly early and medium-term growth. Wool is still important to Mark so he rejects any rams that have low fleece weights breeding values and unsound fleeces. Rams must be structurally sound with moderate body length and backs that are not too flat because cast ewes are a problem at lambing time.

A high terminal index with a focus on early growth and structural soundness is what Mark focuses on when selecting his terminal sires. Ewes remain in their mating mobs each with their own rotation of 23-24 days until scanning. Mark expects scanning percentages to be back this year due to

a prolonged dry spell and declining ewe bodyweights but still expects the twotooths to scan 160%, the MA ewes 178% and the old ewes 200%. Scanning is performed in May about 90 days after the rams come out with dries,singles, twins and triplets being identified. Dry rates vary from 2-4%.

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May 2020


Above: Two tooth ewes out with the ram.

Two tooths and MA ewes carrying singles are separated and stay that way until weaning. Twin and triplet-bearing MA and two-tooth ewes are also kept separate. Ewes with triplets from the B mob and the old ewes are pulled out after shearing and preferentially fed. Mark likes to get ewes vaccinated and drenched five weeks before lambing and ewes carrying multiples set stocked three or four weeks before lambing and singles two or three weeks before lambing. Singles are set stocked at 11-12/ha, twins at 7.5-10/ha and triplets at 7.4/ha. Ewes are also foetal aged so that those due to lamb in the second cycle are identified and kept separate from lambing to weaning. This enables Mark who does a lambing beat to concentrate on just the ewes lambing in the first cycle and deal with the second cyclers later. At lamb drafting it also enables him to concentrate just on the lambs born in the first cycle while leaving those born in the second cycle in the paddock. Mark’s drafting strategy is to kill 1200 Suffolk cross lambs off mum by the end of the first week in December at 18.5kg. Owning his own truck enables him to transport them in drafts of 200 directly to Ovation in Feilding 37km away thereby minimising weight loss.

th2066 070420

The next lamb draft is during the first week in January. Every week after that to the end of March 200 lambs are trucked to Ovation leaving about 550 lambs to kill during the winter. A triple combination drench is given to lambs at docking, followed by two monthly drenches of vetdectin/cydectin in December and January, a Barbers Pole drench in February returning to a monthly triple for March, April and May. An exit drench of Zolvix/ Startect is used in June. Last year the 1200 lambs killed before Christmas averaged $154. The average weight of the lamb crop including the winter lambs is normally 19-19.5kg however this year it will be back to about 18.7kg due to the drought. Coopworth lambs are shorn at main shear in midDecember together with all ewes except those old “B” flock ewes that have reared twins or triplets the previous year. They are shorn before the rams go out and again soon after scanning. All main “B” flock ewes other than those scanned with singles are also shorn after scanning. Two tooths get shorn at the Marton shearing competition in February after being shorn in July as hoggets.

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Improving lamb survival Winter shearing of ewes carrying multiple black-faced lambs is designed to stimulate foetal growth, lamb birth weight and improve lamb survival with the opposite being the reason for only shearing singlebearing ewes annually. Any blackface lambs remaining at the end of January are shorn then. Tapuwai is 320 metres at its highest point and experiences an annual rainfall of 1040mm. Its contour is 50% flat/easy and 50% medium hill mainly in the form of gully sidlings. Soils are a mix of moderately consolidated sandstone on the hills, volcanic ash on the higher terraces and loess, alluvium and gravels on the lower terraces. The farm is on the edge of the Porewa fault line. Soil fertility levels are generally good on the flats with Olsen Ps being in the midto-late 20s and pHs around 5.8. Sulphurs are excellent at 17 for sulphate and 18 for organic. “I take a lot of hay off the flats so they

Simmental cross cows and calves at Bulls runoff.

get a lot of fertiliser to replace the nutrients removed.� Stock water is supplied via troughs, natural water courses and dams some of which have dried up this summer. Availability of stock water is not normally an issue. Mark represents the third generation of Godfreys to farm Tapuwai, his grandfather

having moved there from Eketahuna after the World War II. Mark has two children Grace (19) who is in her second year of Sports Medicine at Otago and is a NZ representative in the 400m women’s relay team and Harry (17) who is in his last year at secondary school. Both are interested in the farming business and help on the farm when they are home from studies.

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May 2020




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‘More farmers are putting out yearling bulls than they used to.’

Cattle breeding life sizzling BY: ANNABELLE LATZ


arie Fitzpatrick has gone from cooking meat to raising it. Before the 28-yearold became an Angus stud breeder,

she was a chef. It dawned on Marie one day in her ‘hot box of a kitchen’ as she described it, that there wasn’t the awareness out there about the necessity for quality beef. After the first major earthquake in Christchurch in 2011 Marie quit her job as a chef and worked on a Hereford stud in Sefton, North Canterbury. The opportunity then arose to shift to Woodstock, North Canterbury, on to her parents’ 18,000ha farm Eyredale. It encompasses Marie’s Timperlea Angus stud, three run offs and the Coutts Island dairy farm. Lying west of Oxford in North Canterbury, Timperlea Angus has been Marie’s brainchild for eight years now. She manages the 427ha stud farm where she also grazes dairy cows and cattle for her parents. “My parents own the land here and I got the opportunity to manage this place and pay grazing for the Angus cows I own. “Growing up on a dairy farm on Coutts Island just north of Christchurch, breeding

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

cattle was something Marie was familiar with. Her parents Clarence and Linda bought a handful of Angus from dispersal sale of ‘Lora Of George Stud’ in Lora Gorge, Southland, 17 years ago, and thus the seed of cattle breeding was sown. There are 120 stud cows, and Timperlea Angus celebrated its first farm sale last year, which admittedly turned Marie into a bag of nerves during the build-up. Come sale day, and it all went like a dream. “I was over the moon actually, we sold everything,” Marie said with a grin. Average price was $4300 for the top 70% of the progeny. The remaining 30% Marie keeps for family use which they breed over Friesians. There were 30 bulls in the sale. Until last year Marie sold through private treaty, but as demand increased an onfarm sale was the next step. “Private treaty was good, though. I had a good relationship with clients.” Timperlea started with 25 breeding cows and the progeny in 2012. This year they will put down 120 calves, and numbers are slowly increasing with the AI breeding programme as she slowly but surely builds equity. First round is to AI, second round is to their four follow-up bulls. But a good 80% of the cows take to first round AI. “I’m a bit picky, I always have been, I want the quality to stay there.”

Breeding an efficient cow with good fertility and carcass traits is the goal, “really aiming for that good maternal cow.” Life is strict for breeding cows at Timperlea, each cow on a two-chance cycle, one being AI. “We sell a few heifer replacements too as commercial heifers. I keep about 30, I want to get up to 150, and am just slowly doing it.” A slight point of difference in Marie’s business plan is that she sells her bulls as yearlings, and it’s going really well. This trend for her began about five years ago when buyers started coming to her pre-sale and asking for bulls, so the sale of the younger stock began, and that seemed a lucrative market to tap into. “And you get the best genetic gain when you’re selling yearling bulls, rather than two-year-olds.” Calving at Timperlea is August and September, weaning is in February and they’re sold in October after being semen tested. This means one less wintering at Timperlea. “More farmers are putting out yearling bulls than they used to. If they’re certain weights this is fine, science has proven this. As an industry, we re going for that more-

›› Continues p94 93

Left: Marie manages the 427ha stud farm where she also grazes dairy cows and cattle for her parents.

efficient beef cow, so its progeny is early maturing.” Buying from Timperlea just every second year is another trend Marie is seeing, as yearling bulls can be used for two seasons. Marie enjoys living and learning. In 2017 she was selected to captain the New Zealand team in Aberdeen, Scotland, for the World Angus Forum, and in 2015 she was awarded the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Five Nations Beef Alliance Young Leader scholarship to attend the annual two-week conference in Durango, Mexico. The alliance was made up of the national organisations that represented beef cattle

producers in NZ, Mexico, the United States, Canada and Australia, and meet annually to both discuss issues and develop strategies to grow the global beef trading industry. Marie also took the opportunity in 2017 to visit farms in Ireland and the United Kingdom. These travels have created a universal base for Marie back home, who regularly has overseas industry connections and friends visiting her stud. “I tell my husband ‘we’ve got another visitor staying with us this week!’” and admitted being married to a mechanical engineer who is very helpful for the

weekends’ repair jobs. “He works in Christchurch so travels an hour to work each day… what we do for love!” Marie enjoys the travelling and said the Angus community in NZ is very supportive of young people and the industry at large, with a family-like feel always welcoming new ideas and people. “It has its challenges, but that’s what keeps you going. “And the agricultural industry is so innovative, there are so many out-the-box thinkers, and it’s really exciting with what lies ahead.” Marie was warned early on about the nor’west winds when she moved up to North Canterbury eight years ago, but says they’re not too bad most of the time. She is thriving in this community and said in times of need, like in heavy snow, there is always a friendly neighbour who will get the snow plough out. “I’ve got really cool neighbours, I just love it here.” 


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Switching things up to grow Developing a King Country family farm has involved a significant change of system. Mike Bland reports.


ing Country farmers Leveson and Vicki Gower are reaping the benefits of a significant shift in farm policy. Five years ago they developed a bold plan to increase profitability and streamline management of their 674-hectare (effective) rolling to medium-hill farm at Wharepuhunga, south east of Te Awamutu. The Gowers bought the family farm in 2006, continuing to run a traditional breeding and finishing system with some dairy support. But in 2015 they switched to intensive bull beef (Country-Wide, February 2019) and dairy grazing while simplifying the original sheep system. Ewe numbers were reduced to about 800 and all ewes are now mated to terminal sires.


The farm, which sits on the edge of the Pureora Forest Park, has been split into a 192ha dairy grazer block, with a bull block covering 140ha in two sections – 61ha on the northern end of the farm and 80ha on the southern. A “filler block”, which takes up the rest of the grazeable area, separates the bull and heifer grazing units. The balance of the 1420ha farm is mostly native bush and small pine plantations. Following advice from farm consultant Bob Thomson, AgFirst, the Gowers started construction of the cell grazing system in January 2016. Larger paddocks were subdivided into 6-7ha blocks using permanent two-wire fencing. Each of the two bull units now has 10 blocks split into 15 cells/block.

Leveson says a key aim of the bull block, or “grass growing system” as he prefers to call it, is to utilise pasture more efficiently. Pasture growth WHAREPUHUNGA is monitored carefully to ensure there is plenty of feed ahead of the bulls. May 1 is a key date for grazing management decisions. Total stocking is reduced to a target of 6500 stock units to build a feed wedge for winter. “That’s when we split the cells in half and put the bulls onto a 60-day rotation.” In summer the bulls go onto a 20 to 30-day rotation, depending on pasture growth. Cells can be dropped in or out of the system to reach this. Bulls typically achieve an average daily liveweight gain of 0.6kg in the system. R2 bulls are finished at 300-320kg

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

Left: This year the farm will winter 761 R1 and R2 bulls and steers. Right: Leveson and Vicki Gower’s plans to improve the profitability of their King Country farm are well on track.

carcaseweight between June and January and supplied, along with lambs and steers, to Silver Fern Farms. Leveson, Vicki and new stock manager Matt Geddes, who arrived in August 2019, continue to fine-tune the system. Vicki, a chartered accountant, says the farm is achieving a much more consistent income than the previous system “which was quite variable, depending on market prices and weather conditions”. She says they are targeting an Economic Farm Surplus of $500-550/ha (after management costs and depreciation). Having good systems in place to measure and monitor what is happening onfarm is essential for the business plan. Bull numbers have increased over the last three years – from 660 in 2018 to 675 in 2019. This year the farm will winter 761 R1 and R2 bulls and steers. Leveson says the cell grazing system can handle about 550 bulls at any one time. Surplus bulls go to the filler block. “The filler block gives us a lot of flexibility because we can transfer stock in and out. We use it for heifer calves, prime steers, surplus bulls and the ewe flock.” Pasture damage in the cell grazing system is reduced by altering mob size and rotation length. “Bulls are on two-day shifts in winter, but if things look like they are going to get really wet, we might shift them a day early.” Over the last season the Gowers have tinkered with different mob sizes and age mixes to reduce behavioural problems and keep liveweight per hectare at about 8501000kg LW/ha. In hindsight, Leveson says, cell size on the bull block is probably too large, so last year they tried running older bulls with the younger bulls. This seemed to work well. “Running three or four R2 bulls with 25 R1s helps us keep weight per hectare up while minimising the niggle. The younger

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

bulls stay in the same mobs for two years and older bulls are shifted out for sale in November or December.” The Gowers have established access to a good supply of Friesian bulls at a time when some farmers struggle to find them. Weaner bulls are bought at between 100kg LW and 180kg LW, depending on the time of year. With dairy heifers on the farm, the Gowers are mindful of the Mycoplasma bovis risk and take care to source calves direct from two farms with closed herds. Last year they contract-reared calves at around $540/head and this season they went for younger calves, buying them in at 80-100kg at $5.50-$5.70/kg. Vicki says they are happy to pay a premium for calves if it means keeping M.bovis off the farm. Most of the bulls are Friesian but the Gowers also buy beef-cross bulls and some Angus-Friesian steers. Leveson likes the beef-cross bulls. “They are short, solid things when they arrive on the farm but they seem to grow out really well. I haven’t done any figures on them yet, but I think they would achieve very similar weight gains as the Friesians. However, we pay about $100 more for them as weaners, so a farm consultant

FARM FACTS: • Farm owner: Leveson and Vicki Gower, Stockland Farm • Location: Wharepuhunga, Northern King Country • Total area: 1420ha (approx.), 674ha effective • Farm policy: Bull beef finishing, heifer grazing • Stock: approx. 675-700 bulls, 1000 dairy heifers, 800 ewes • Gross Farm Income: $1327/ha

would probably tell me the economics don’t stack up.” Though cell grazing is quite labour intensive, Leveson says they are now at the stage where the system can be efficiently managed by one person. “We try to shift the bulls on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so the weekend is free.” Working alongside Leveson and Matt is Hamish Rabarts, who is employed full-time on a contract basis for fencing, spraying and tractor work.

›› Drought puts system to the test p99 97

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Drought puts system to the test This year’s drought put real pressure on Leveson and Vicki Gower’s King Country farm but the couple say things would have been much worse if the right systems weren’t in place. It was the toughest dry spell Leveson has seen in 40 years of farming. He says things got really dry from midFebruary and pasture growth came to a shuddering halt soon after. “Usually we can expect the farm to hang on into autumn, but that just didn’t happen.” Luckily the Gowers had sold the bulk of their finishing bulls in November and early December. “The schedule was still going up, so it could have been tempting to hold on to them into the New Year, but we had a plan and we stuck with it.” As the drought continued, the Gowers decided to destock the bull-finishing unit and let it recover. Bulls were shifted on to the filler block, and feed priority was

given to the heifers and younger bulls. “As long as they’ve got plenty of water and shade, the older bulls will maintain weight to some extent. But the younger bulls really need that good-quality pasture.” The Gowers had fed palm kernel to the heifers in the past. This year they also used it as supplement for the bulls for the first time, but only as a short-term measure to get through the drought. “We’ve probably fed out about 28 tonnes so far, and we’ll need another 10 tonnes before the end of winter.” About 500 bales of balage were made on the farm last year. Usually about half of this would be sold, but this year all the balage was kept and fed out from February. Leveson expects it to last through the winter. By early April, liveweight of the older bulls was about 10-15kg/head behind where it was at the same time last year. These bulls will be reintroduced into the

cell system once pasture recovers. Leveson is confident he can get them back on track “if we have a kind winter”. If winter conditions are not favourable, he and Vicki will look at other options to achieve finishing weights, such as grazing younger bulls off-farm, or buying R2 bulls later in the season. “But we will carry our usual stock numbers into winter to make sure we have the mouths on board for the spring flush.” Leveson says while the full impact of the drought won’t be felt until next season, a key lesson from this year was the importance of a good water system. He says a significant investment in water reticulation and storage over the last five years was fully justified. “This drought was a great test for our water system and it passed with flying colours.”

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Heifer grazing a good fit While bulls and sheep might have outperformed heifers financially in recent years, the Gowers haven’t been tempted to reduce heifer numbers. In fact, this year they will take on an extra 50 calves in November. “Heifer grazing is a long-term strategy that gives great cashflow and diversification,” Vicki says. This year the Gowers will graze about 1000 heifers for two clients. Heifers are grazed for a flat per head fee, with the client covering all animal health costs. The heifer block is stocked at about 600kg LW/ha. Leveson says the dairy heifer grazing operation is a perfect fit for the farm’s pasture production curve. “It really helps us make the most of the summer flush. We could run them at a higher stocking rate, but we like to look after them and make sure they go home fat and beautiful.” Leveson says they are lucky to have good clients “and it’s very important to us that we build solid relationships with them”.

Left: Heifer grazing is a long-term strategy. Photo by Angus Gower.

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Carbon farming a win-win With the farm now set up so that one person can handle day to day stock management, the Gowers can focus on other projects, like environmental improvements and looking for other income streams. Working according to a Land and Environment Plan, they are fencing and planting sensitive areas, including around the Puniu and the Mangatutu Rivers, which cross the property. They are also protecting a 4ha wetland on the filler block and planting English Plane trees around the bull block for shade. And after completing a Land Use Assessment Plan they have started planting poplars over 30ha of the filler block. As well as providing shade and erosion control, these poplars should provide future income in the form of carbon credits. “It’s a win-win situation for us,” Vicki says. “It’s good for the environment and it’s good for our bottom line.” Leveson is equally enthusiastic. “My favourite jobs at the moment are putting in water troughs and planting poplars.” Another key aim of their new business plan was to spend more






Above: Poplars should provide future income in the form of carbon credits. Photo by Angus Gower.

time away from the farm. Son Angus, 15, is a keen ski racer, and they enjoy getting down to the mountain to watch him compete. Last year they went to the United States for two weeks in April and for another seven weeks at Christmas. Leveson says the changes in farm policy were designed to make it easier to step away from the farm, though he finds it hard to switch off completely. But he knows the farm is in good hands when he and Vicki are not there. “Matt only joined us in August, so he got thrown in the deep end when we went to the States, but he coped really well. It would have been much harder for him if we didn’t have the grazing management and animal health systems in place.”



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he country’s largest manufacturer of production animal vaccines is reassuring farmers they will not run short of product because of restrictions applied during the Covid-19 alert period. MSD Animal Health’s Upper Hutt site continued to operate throughout the lockdown. The company reported there was adequate supplies of key clostridial and bacterial vaccines for farmers. The site’s general manager Ian Pawson said the company made adjustments to the production line to meet the ‘safe social distancing’ requirements set by the Government during the Covid-19 pandemic. Orders were received and dispatched to

wholesalers, vet clinics and rural supplies stores on schedule. Pawson said farmers might notice small changes to the packaging of the vaccines due to delays in packing materials from suppliers. Also MSD’s own staff minimised people-contact through greater separation on the packing lines rather than any change in supply or production of the vaccines. “One of the great benefits of having our plant at Upper Hutt is that we’re making the vaccines right here in New Zealand. MSD’s livestock business unit lead for NZ, Dr Pauline Calvert, said the site is focused now on the production of clostridial vaccines for the period leading up to calving and lambing. MSD produces Multine, Nilvax and

The MSD vaccine plant at Upper Hutt.

Covexin10 range of vaccines at the site. Salmonella is another challenge for farmers to be mindful of as winter approaches. The company has sufficient supplies of its vaccine, Salvexin+B, available. 



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DUNCAN CAMPBELL P: 03 426 2455 or M: 027 659 6713 email:

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The power of having balance


The net productivity and profitability of a farm system is determined by many variables. Canterbury-based veterinarian Ben Allott looks at these, especially animal health.

t can be difficult to assess the true contribution of a single one of these variables to the overall success of your operation, and simple analysis can be misleading. At an action network group event last year, a financial benchmarking analysis showed that the average gross farm income (GFI) contribution from each sheep stock unit across the group was about $145/SU. Across these same farms each cattle stock unit directly contributed $115/su to GFI. This generated some interesting discussion across the group. Some advocated higher sheep numbers to increase GFI and in their estimation, profitability. Others in the group urged caution and argued that the simple GFI/ su figure grossly underestimated the


contribution of cattle to the productivity of the total farm and to achieving lower cost structures in the business. I found these discussions fascinating so fleshed out a few of the key points and added in a few of my own. The cost of feed consumed: In general terms, higher quality feed is more expensive to grow, even more so when this high quality feed is required in the winter, or during the summer dry. Regrassing is more frequent, seed/ chemical/fertilizer costs are higher, more hours are spent in a tractor burning fuel. Re-grassing and crop establishment also comes with more risk. The spring/summer of 2018 was full of crop establishment disappointment in North Canterbury.

High producing sheep breeding systems have a high reliance on quality feed for tupping, quality feed for wintering and high quality feed for lactation. If finishing lambs and mating hoggets there’s a need for very high quality feed through the summer dry. In contrast, beef breeding cows produce product from much lower quality and cost feed. For most of the year beef cows are consuming the feed the sheep won’t eat. Contribution to improved feed quality In almost every dryland farm situation a surplus of feed builds in late spring and early summer. With the development of seed-head due to high temperatures and summer dry, this surplus feed is of poor

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May 2020

Left: Beef cows in-calf and if wellconditioned are the perfect stock class for low quality feed as maintenance. Right: Pushing ewes to consume low quality tag through March and April risks lower ovulation rates and reduced scanning percentages.

quality. If not consumed and tidied up, this feed carried through the autumn and winter, will significantly reduce feed quality and the amount grown next spring. Sheep can be used to tidy up pasture but often this presents challenges with the demand for high quality feed through the sheep production cycle. And the practical challenges in getting sheep to consume very low quality tag. Pushing ewes to consume low quality tag through March and April risks lower ovulation rates and reduced scanning percentages. Beef cows are already well incalf and if well-conditioned are the perfect stock class to lock down onto maintenance allocations on low quality feed. In June and July ewes need increasing allocations of higher quality feed to maintain body condition score (BCS) through mid and late pregnancy. Ewes losing body condition through this period will have poorer lamb survival, give birth to lighter lambs and the surviving lambs will have lower pre-weaning growth rates. Time and time again beef cows have been shown to tolerate BCS loss through the winter without adversely affecting productivity as long as they calve at BCS 5. Beef cows are extremely resilient and flexible and can be used to control pasture quality on maintenance allocations through periods of the years that sheep simply can’t. To consume poor quality pasture and leave behind an evenly grazed paddock, a mob of animals needs to be pushed to maintenance or even sub-maintenance allocations. When using ewes to do a hard tidy up this will result in post-grazing residuals of less than 1cm (800kgDM). If higher residuals are left by ewes, the grazing pattern will be inconsistent, clumps will be left, and dead material will remain. Beef cows will leave an evenly grazed paddock at residuals of 2-3cm (1100-1200kgDM/ha). In many colder parts of NZ you are lucky to grow 200300kgDM/ha through the winter. If you are trying to smash rank dead material out of

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May 2020

pastures late in the autumn, and want to be able to set-stock ewes for lambing, you can’t afford to deck the paddock to 1cm with ewes. You won’t have enough cover come lambing. The beef cow is flexible enough to handle the low quality feed, tight allocations and moderate BCS loss in the winter. It leaves sufficient cover behind to freshen up to good lambing feed for set-stocking. Feed grown in finishing systems: I have heard a local farm consultant say on multiple occasions that under irrigation you will grow 15% more feed if you finish cattle rather than lambs on the same area. Several members of the action network group made similar comments that the grazing pressure and behaviour of lambonly finishing results in less feed grown. In their experience having finishing cattle following lambs was a superior system. More feed is grown, feed is maintained at higher quality, and feed utilization is improved. Internal parasite contamination, animal health costs and the development of drench resistance: This is the area of this conversation that as a vet excites me the most. Contaminators and vacuum cleaners Contaminators are animals that develop large parasite burdens. As a result, their faecal egg counts are high, and because

a lot of parasite eggs pass in their faeces, they contribute to more parasite larvae on pasture. These animals create dirty/ contaminated pasture. Vacuum cleaners are animals that consume more parasite larvae than they put out behind them. They can eat large numbers of parasite larvae but their immune systems are effective and kill them. They maintain low faecal egg counts and because of this, these animals create cleaner pasture/lower contamination. Cattle are vacuum cleaners of sheep parasites, and sheep are vacuum cleaners of cattle parasites. The effect of cross-grazing sheep and cattle is two-fold. The first effect is that by grazing more cattle stock units, you generally need to compensate by running fewer sheep. Fewer sheep equals fewer sheep parasite eggs passed onto pasture. The second effect is when a cattle beast eats a sheep parasite larvae on pasture. The larvae is killed and the cattle beast does not put any sheep parasite eggs out behind it. More cattle in the system equals less sheep parasite eggs passed. More sheep parasites are consumed and killed. More sheep parasites are vacuumed and the pastures are cleaner. The effect works the opposite way as well with sheep vacuum cattle parasites. Ideally a sheep to cattle ratio of 50:50 provides that best balance.

›› Continued on p106 105


On the paper trail BY: RACHAEL FOUHY


write for farmers, they have a few pitfalls and are not without frustration. I thought I’d cover off a few of the key considerations we undertake when writing these. Your local vet’s role is to certify that the animal is fit for transport, according to set and specified criteria, set by the Ministry for Primary Industries. If we certify an animal outside this criteria we are answerable to MPI. Many vets will no longer write works certificates as they have had negative experiences from either farmers, MPI or both. Please be understanding if we decline to write you a vet cert for a particular animal, it’s nothing personal. Timing: By far and away this can be the most frustrating part of the whole process. Legally we can only authorise a cert for

seven days, in some conditions such as remoteness, it can be extended a few days. The reasoning for this is so that the condition of the animal doesn’t deteriorate in the time after the cert was written. The only time I’d consider writing an extended cert is for a chronic injury, eg: an old bull lame after mating. Key point – arrange for a works cert after your animal is booked in and you have a rough idea when they will go. I appreciate this is not always easy. Condition of the animal: Rules regarding no blood or discharging wounds are quite black and white, things that are less black and white include broken penises which are hanging out (normally okay) and animals that have had eczema. Friesian bulls that have had eczema as a calf that has never really healed fall very

›› Continues from p105

heavily geared to one species (e.g. 90% sheep) is geared toward contaminators rather than vacuum cleaners. A farm system that has stocking policies heavily geared to young stock (finishes all their lambs and mates hoggets) is geared toward contaminators rather than vacuum cleaners. Farm systems geared toward contaminators are heavily reliant on chemical control (drenching) to keep the system in check, whereas farm systems geared toward vacuum cleaners reduce their reliance on chemical because their stocking policies provide a natural balance. The development and selection of drench resistant parasites is simply a function of how much drench is poured into your system. If you have to pour drench into your farm because the stocking policies gear your farm toward contamination and chemical reliance, then you will develop drench resistant parasites. They will become a significant problem sooner. Contaminators equal reliance on chemical equals more drench equals less refugia equals resistant parasites Farm systems geared toward vacuum cleaners can have very low drench inputs. Farmers around them can be astounded

by the cost and workload savings. They can be even more astounded at the level of productivity. It would be great for veterinary business to be able to provide the true solution to all your parasite problems in a drum of drench. The reality is though, the more chemical you have to pour in, the quicker you develop drench resistance. Some regular ‘alarm bell’ comments I hear regularly are farmers saying they have to: • drench ewes regularly to maintain body condition score or to prevent disease. • use long-acting treatments prior to lambing or the wheels come off. • drench my lambs every 3-4 weeks or growth rates crash and/or else I will see diseased lambs. • double/triple resistant sheep parasites identified on my farm but I can’t reduce drench use or productivity will suffer. If any of these comments resonate with you as a sheep farmer dealing with constant parasite challenge then I would encourage you to look at what impact your stocking policies are having on the balance of contaminators to vacuum cleaners. It may be time to explore the power of the beef cow.

s I write this we are starting our compulsory lockdown which is an interesting process as a vet. Large Animal work, mostly beef pregnancy testing, continues almost as normal and keeping a two-metre distance isn’t too hard. However, one of my favourite parts, sitting around having a yarn and a cuppa afterwards isn’t quite the same. Operations within our small animal clinic and from a retail side have changed considerably, which takes a while to get your head around. Vet Certs/Works certs are a common form of documentation we are asked to

Contaminator or hoover Older stock tend to be vacuum cleaners, young stock are contaminators. Young cattle (less than 15 months) and lambs (less than 9 months) have immature immune responses that are not very effective in controlling parasite numbers. These young animals develop large parasite burdens, they suffer the most significant disease and production losses. They develop very high faecal egg counts and contribute massively to the contamination of pasture with parasite larvae. Older stock, when well fed and under low stress, have more effective immune responses and control the number of parasites in their gut more effectively. While they still pass some parasite eggs in their faeces, for most of the year older stock classes eat more larvae on pasture than they deposit in faeces. This goes right out the window if older stock are placed under stress, are underfed, are in poor BCS, are challenged by disease, or are made to eat pasture heavily contaminated with parasite larvae. Ewes can become significant sources of contamination if they are under the pump. A farm system that has stocking policies


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May 2020

Your local vet’s role is to certify that the animal is fit for transport, according to set and specified criteria, set by the Ministry for Primary Industries. much into the grey area. If their wounds have healed completely they are fine, those that bleed from time to time are not. Key considerations include: will it bleed during transport and what will it look like after it has been washed at the yards – not a part of transport, but a key consideration MPI takes on board when they give us feedback on our decisions. Eyes are another area which can cause some debate. No discharge and no growths greater than 1cm diameter. Tear staining and blinking from a small growth is considered painful

and therefore these animals are not considered fit for transport. The growth on the eye pictured above is considered too large to go, even though it was not bleeding or causing the eye to weep. Lameness is another issue we commonly certify for. These cases follow a set criteria of rules, regarding weight bearing, length of stride and other traits. Lameness often has set criteria about cattle being on the lower deck, first on and first off. When sending lame cattle, my

Vets are required to certify animals to go to the nearest processing plant.


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preference is to send them with herd mates, so they are not alone in a pen and can be supported by others. We often get asked about horns and the old rule of thumb about them being inside the ears. The main reason for this is so they fit in the stun box and can easily drop out. I recently watched an animal get stuck in the box – it wasn’t very nice. There is a specified time frame from dehorning to transport which needs to be adhered to. Which Works: This also can cause some frustration. We are required to certify animals to go to the nearest processing plant. Once again this is an MPI requirement. I’m fortunate in my areas that there are three or four options for farmers all within a short distance of each other. However, not all farmers supply these plants and I appreciate that it is frustrating when we decline a certificate for an animal to go to your normal plant. Please be understanding of this and be prepared to arrange another processing



plant prior to us writing the certificate. Please, please, please do not cross out the plant we certify for and write your personal plant in there. As the authorizing vets we are deemed responsible for your animal and held accountable for any changes on the certificate that you make. Insurance: If you require a certificate for a valuable stud bull, please check your insurance policy first. Some have some strict criteria in regards to when these animals can be slaughtered, especially in regards to timing. Often it’s not an issue, but worth checking before the animal leaves the property. In a perfect world, take a short video or a few photos of your animal in question and the issue, email your local vet well in advance and ask if it would qualify for a certificate. The bonus of this is that it allows the vet to consult the plant vet if needed. If it meets the criteria, get it booked in and then arrange for the vet to certify it once you have a timeframe to work with.






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Coping with drought and virus Drought has intensified the impact of Covid-19 on many farmers. Vet Trevor Cook reports.


emote contact with lots of farmers over the last few weeks has really highlighted how farming is in a very different space from much of the rest of

New Zealand. Well over 90% of my interaction content has been about managing the drought. In fact, the biggest reference to the Covid-19 threat has been that the kids are at home. Mostly seen as help but for the odd one a hinderance. The drought has really intensified the impact of the other factors that have got in the way of effective farming. Limited access to processing plants has proved a major factor in compromising any drought response. Obviously, market value falls have just exaggerated that impact. So where has that left us? Most North Island flocks have gone to the ram in at least half a condition score lighter than they usually would be. Two-tooth ewes have a greater spread in liveweights and overall I think have been 5kg lighter than usual. Hoggets have either not been mated or fewer mated. The expected result of all of that is fewer

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May 2020

lambs weaned next season. But unless more actions are taken those losses could be worse. Summer/autumn 2010 was very similar, at least in the lower west North Island. Light ewes going into winter, but this was accompanied by lower than needed pasture covers. By the spring, ewes were still light and pasture covers were still limiting. Lamb survival was always going to be precarious and rain every day in September made sure of that. Not being able to keep condition scores or weights up in the autumn where they should be is to some extent inevitable in such a dry summer. But not taking enough pasture into the winter does not need to be inevitable. Noting how various farmers have coped with the drought is of interest. Much has been talked of the mental impact of such conditions and the negative influence on decision making. No support structure can be the correct one for all. Not doing anything different has not been uncommon and works in more simple systems that are usually understocked. Lowered production will ensue, and it will just that much larger

than for others that have made changes. The big risk of a no change approach is animal welfare if the feed shortage gets even more extreme. Two different actions I came across seemed so logical, so why were they not done a lot earlier? It came down to the agility of the decision-making process and even for these switched-on farmers that was dulled. One was to create a formal priority list of stock and task priorities. The effect was very much mental in that it made them more comfortable about where to focus. Of course, that focus made their actions more effective. But why was that list made way back before it became dire? The other was after seeking advice on an ever-diminishing feed supply. Suggested was the idea of selling bigger cattle, at a discounted price, and replace them with smaller cattle that cost less than that discounted price. The feed demand for that enterprise was halved, the reduced trading margin was dealt with and a very sticky end point averted. A simple solution but one that needed to be unlocked by outside eyes. The mental cost of drought is huge largely because of impaired decision making. Coming out the other end it is important to reflect on what happened and look at what could have made it better. One of the farming businesses mentioned has done exactly that and has identified some very good changes that would make a repeat of that dry much less damaging. These are not by reducing stock numbers but to have more flexible purchase and sale dates, managing spring feed differently and adjusting the stock mix. Not massive changes but ones that do not leave the business so exposed. I think we do not spend enough time reflecting at all. Not just when it has not gone well, but when it has gone well. Identifying the key actions that drove a good outcome can cement them more in place if coming out of a review. I keep hearing about how we will be operating in a different world once out of this virus pandemic. For farming I cannot see how this can be. Efficient production will still be what drives profit and be more kind to the environment. We can hope that any change will be more common sense behind regulations and attitudes. Is that possible if schools are still not open by the end of May?



First drought, now Covid-19 BY: ANDREW ROE


he Country Wide crew demonstrated plenty of foresight when they decided, back in February, that the theme of this special beef farmer edition of the magazine would be “Beefing up the Farm: building flexibility for threats and opportunities”. As well as the after-effects of the drought, which many New Zealand farmers were already grappling with, another set of challenges has been forced upon the agricultural sector thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. If ever there was a time for flexibility, now is it. The few months following a drought always pose a unique set of animal health

risks. And the disruptions at our beef processing plants due to Covid-19 is likely to add to these challenges. A recent industry update by Beef + Lamb NZ stated that the implementation of the Covid-19 meat processing protocol has led to a 30% reduction of throughput at our beef plants, with the backlog not likely to be cleared until well into winter. With beef finishers needing to hang on to prime stock longer than normal, there will be less demand for this seasons’ calves, meaning some of those breeders and calfrearers, who normally sell their calves, may now be forced to winter them. Following are some of the animal health considerations for those farmers battling with the demands of carrying extra stock, especially young stock, as well as those emerging from the drought.

WORMS Despite what many people think hot, dry conditions do not kill worms on our pastures. Worm larvae are tough and adaptable and survive droughts quite nicely in faecal pats and the soil. When we finally get rain they emerge in huge numbers to resume their development and get ingested by our grazing animals. Farmers in drought recovery mode need to be aware of this threat and tighten up their drenching regime, especially of calves and lambs, to avoid serious internal parasite problems. Monthly drenching, if using an oral product, or six-weekly for pour-ons and injectables is the standard approach; though there are some variations to this recommendation for specific products, so check with your vet for the best advice. And don’t forget


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to keep an eye on adult stock as they too can succumb to the effects of parasitism in cases of heavy worm challenge, especially if already a little bit down in condition

LUNGWORM In South Otago we have already dealt with a number of lungworm cases in calves, some involving quite heavy losses. Warm, moist autumn conditions are ideal for the development and dispersal of lungworm larvae on our pastures. Lungworms follow a similar life cycle to the important gastro-intestinal worms and are susceptible to all of our broadspectrum drench types, but farmers can be taken by surprise, especially those already following a regular drenching programme. The difference with lungworm is that the juvenile worms are just as harmful as the adults so, if using a standard oral drench (which does not offer any persistent activity) dangerous levels can build up between your monthly drenches. The use of pour-on, injectable or bolus products, containing active ingredients

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May 2020

from the ML (“mectin”) group is the recommended approach, but ensure you choose a combination product to take care of those gut worms that the mectins are not so good at dealing with, and to minimise the chance of drench resistance.

MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY Those using nitrogenous fertiliser to help with drought recovery or provide feed for increased stock numbers need for be mindful of the suppressive effect this can have on magnesium availability in the spring. Dusting pasture with magnesium oxide (as occurs on dairy farms) is not often feasible on sheep and beef farms, but a practical alternative to prevent grass staggers in your breeding cows is the use of magnesium boluses.

CLOSTRIDIAL DISEASE Most beef finishers, especially those operating more intensive grazing systems, will already have a vaccination programme in place to protect their young cattle against blackleg and the other “sudden death” syndromes caused by clostridial

Above: Implementation of the Covid-19 meat processing protocol has led to a 30% reduction of throughput at our beef plants.

bacteria. For farmers unexpectedly ending up with calves to winter, due to the flowon effects of Covid-19, vaccinating those animals with a clostridial vaccine is very cheap insurance, especially if you are intending to winter them on fodder beet or a brassica crop. • Andrew Roe is a veterinarian with Clutha Vets.



Flexibility in animal health In drought conditions, flexibility may mean drenching can be less frequent.



myriad of flexibility options are available when it comes to production, but what about flexibility in animal health treatments? Can we be flexible when it comes to animal health and in what circumstances? The answer is not straightforward and the key to flexibility in animal health is

monitoring – monitoring of stock and environment. There are instances where flexibility may mean less animal health treatments are needed, but equally there are circumstances where we may need more. A classic example is control of internal parasites (worms). In Southland last winter we saw deaths in R1 cattle from worm burdens in July, something unusual down here due to our cool climate. An unusually mild autumn and start to

winter was the catalyst for these deaths but the lack of close monitoring and timely treatments was the nail in the coffin. The farmer in question treated for parasites the way they always have, and in the past they haven’t had any trouble. The difference this year was simply the climatic conditions, which provided ideal conditions for parasite development in late autumn. Crucially the farmer didn’t notice and their inflexible treatment regime resulted in deaths – one extra drench


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We should all be flexible enough with animal health treatments that we can add or remove a treatment when conditions dictate. would have avoided the problem. Conversely, in drought conditions as many of you have seen this year, flexibility may mean drenching can be less frequent, due to larval development/survival being low. Again this would require careful monitoring of both environment and stock. When the rain returns and larval challenge increases, flexibility may result in drenching much more frequently in order to protect stock at this time. Outside of internal parasite control, flexibility may be adding an extra zinc bolus for cattle during a bad season of facial eczema or added bloat control measures depending on pasture conditions. There may also be examples where vaccination protocols are flexible depending on risk. For example, if heifers

are to be grazed off farm, BVD vaccination may need to be considered, or if cattle are to be wintered on crop, clostridial protection may need to be ramped up (i.e. 10-in-1). Regardless of the treatment and whether it may be deemed to be ‘flexible’ or not, it is important that you don’t make decisions without getting sound advice from a trusted animal health professional. Your vet, in most instances, should be able to advise you on the necessity of any treatment and the risks or potential outcomes of not doing so. Your local vet will also have knowledge of recent climatic/environmental conditions and risk factors that may influence the need for a particular treatment. We should all be flexible enough with

animal health treatments that we can add or remove a treatment when conditions dictate. In order to do this correctly you need to educate yourself on the different health treatments currently used on farm, plus those that are available for your enterprise, and what each treatment is trying to achieve. Use this knowledge, along with the known risk factors, to justify the need (or not) for any particular treatment. Follow this up with close monitoring of the stock and environmental conditions to assess whether your decision was the right one and make any necessary adjustments. To summarise, many animal health treatments can be flexible in one way or another, it is just requires the right knowledge and careful monitoring to gain the confidence to make decisions that may differ from the norm.  • Andrew Cochrane is a Southland vet.

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Left: Liver damage data from meat processing plants and diagnostic labs is patchy but it was concluded sub-clinical FE is probably much more widespread than farmers realise.

Facial eczema can strike in beef cattle BY: KEN GEENTY


he devastating disease facial eczema (FE) is not considered common in beef cattle with little known about prevalence. With warm and humid weather FE can seriously affect ruminants grazing grass-based pasture when ground temperatures are above 12C and humidity is high. Animals affected include cattle, sheep, deer and alpacas. Horses are not susceptible. The threat is greatest when rain follows a dry spell and there is dead litter at the base of the pasture. Conditions ideal for mushrooms also favour the fungus Pithomyces chartarum which causes FE. The toxic fungal spores containing sporidesmin are eaten by grazing animals causing damage to their liver and bile ducts. Because they can’t release bile and chlorophyll breakdown products they become highly photosensitive. Distressing symptoms with clinical


FE include frequent urination, kicking at udders, restlessness, rubbing of heads against posts and gates and seeking shade to avoid sunlight. In severe cases animals break out in weeping dermatitis and scabby rashes around the face and legs. Importantly, animals showing these external clinical symptoms are only the tip of the iceberg. For every affected animal seen there will be five or 10 others with unseen sub-clinical FE. In a herd of beef cattle with up to 20% clinical cases it’s very likely 100% have FE. Animal deaths often occur with clinical FE. Many farmers will have sub-clinical FE in their beef cattle not visible but causing lost production and income. A farmer-initiated FE Working Group (FEWG) chaired by King Country sheep breeder Robert Carter, with the foremost FE experts in NZ, is assisting producer organisations with FE prevention. A drive is also on for research to provide new solutions as heavy reliance on sporidesmin challenge testing for tolerance breeding and zinc as a prophylactic may not be sustainable. The FEWG is

supported financially by Beef+LambNZ with in-kind assistance from DairyNZ and DeerIndustryNZ. Recently the FEWG discussed FE in beef cattle with facilitation from AgResearch Ruakura geneticist Neil Cullen and Hamilton-based AgFirst consultant Bob Thomson. Main points were that beef cattle are more tolerant than other ruminants; they tend not to visually show clinical signs; there is greater prevalence in dairy and dairy cross animals. Liver damage data from meat processing plants and diagnostic labs is patchy but it was concluded sub-clinical FE is probably much more widespread than farmers realise. A DairyNZ-supported survey has recently shown widespread sub-clinical FE in dairy cows. Some industry information gathered several years ago from AsureQuality by B+LNZ farmer council chair Robyn Williamson showed similar spikes for beef cattle as for sheep in liver damage from meat processing companies in most North Island areas and Nelson-Marlborough. However, not all liver damage can be attributed to FE. It was resolved that the FEWG should facilitate collation and reporting of available information on national prevalence of FE in beef cattle. The cost of FE to livestock industries is huge. Estimates by FEWG show an industry average of more than $500 million annually with beef cattle predicted to contribute up to $80m if their incidence approaches that in sheep. This extent is unlikely however as beef cattle, particularly on hill country, often graze pastures not at risk of FE challenge. Farmers should be vigilant, in most years between January and May, to detect rising spore counts on their farms. Most veterinary practices have spore counting services and can advise of looming risk periods and treatments. Comprehensive weekly regional consolidated reports on spore counts can

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May 2020

be obtained from the Gribbles Veterinary link: Weekly spore counts are also available on B+LNZ’s eDiary. Reports to mid-March 2020 showed 25% of regional spore counts had just started trending above the FE risk trigger of 30,000 spores per gram of pasture. Main areas affected were Kaikohe, Central Waikato, and interestingly, the Grey District in the South Island. Dry conditions in most other areas had prevented spore counts rising. If spore counts rise above risk levels beef producers should contact their veterinarian for procedures to test for sub-clinical FE. This will probably involve collection of blood samples from a sample of animals. There are several options to farmers for prevention of FE including: • Early treatment of animals with zinc which lessens the toxin’s impact • Spraying pastures with fungicide to kill the fungus

• Removing animals from grass-based pastures to safer pastures, crops or supplements • Breeding for FE tolerance using proven sires. Producer industry groups Beef+Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and Deer Industry NZ are actively working to combat the potentially worsening FE problem with helpful information on their websites. Farming areas most affected by FE are generally north of Taupo and the east coast north from Hawke’s Bay. But there is wide variation between years depending on climate. The most recent severe outbreak in 2016 included the Kapiti coast and large parts of the South Island. Former Ruakura scientist Dr Margaret Di Menna illustrated with maps some time ago that average season historical FE risk areas, estimated at around 20% of available grazing land, would increase to a predicted 70% with three degrees of global climate warming (Di Menna et al. 2009, NZ Journal

King Country sheep breeder Robert Carter chairs the farmer-initiated FE Working Group.

of Agricultural Research). FE experts say the bad outbreak of 2016 surpassed this prediction with wider areas including around lake Taupo and large parts of the South Island affected. The impact of FE is expected to deteriorate towards the above prediction with global warming in coming decades.

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ANIMAL HEALTH | MONITORING FIGURE 1: Shapes to look for at each part of the cow

Body condition scoring beef cattle BY: REBECCA SMITH


he original briefing for this article was to write about “building flexibility for threats and opportunities”. At that time I assumed the “threats” Terry was referring to were the droughts, flooding and the market uncertainty we were facing with Covid-19 impacts on the supply chain in China. Little did we know that only a few weeks later we would be in a nationwide level 4 lockdown and the impacts of Covid-19 would be a lot closer to home. However, this has highlighted the importance of the brief; now more than ever with processing capacity down, ability to sell livestock reduced and feed shortages due to drought or flooding impacts, we need to look at buffers in the system to “weather the storms” in front of us. The body fat of a beef cow from weaning to calving is the perfect buffer and body condition scoring is the tool we use to measure and monitor an adult cow’s body fat cover. We can use this information to manage split mobs, manage mob feed requirements and strategically lose body fat cover over the “expensive” feed period of winter to achieve set targets prior to calving. We use body condition scoring and not liveweights as this removes the effect of cow frame size differences and stage of pregnancy.

HOW DO WE BODY CONDITION SCORE CATTLE? Ideally cattle should be body condition scored in the yards with your hands on individual animals. Luckily autumn is a good time to do this, when they are in for weaning, TB testing or pregnancy testing as this is a key time for body condition scoring. Up a race is ideal and the easiest


for marking/drafting but once you get a bit of experience it is possible (due to the short hair coat of cattle) to condition score them moving freely in uncrowded pens, or even out in the paddock or slowly moving through gateways. The areas we focus on for body condition scoring are the: pin bones, tailhead, rump, hips, shortribs and spine. The images in Figure 1 show what shapes we see and feel at different body condition scores. Place your hands on each of the different body parts to get an appreciation for the shape you are seeing and then refer to images in Figure 2.

THE PROBLEM WITH EXTREMES: Cows that are too fat (BCS 8-9) have just as much of a negative impact on farm productivity as cows that are too thin (BCS 1-4). Getting cows in calf is the first step to determining the reproductive performance of a herd, and both extremes on the BCS scale have been shown to impact a cow’s ability to cycle and her ability to conceive. Thin cows are also likely to have a longer calving-to-conception interval and if they do get in calf their calves are likely to have less vigour, or “get up and go” when they’re born. Fat cows come with a unique set of complications, they have an increased risk of dystocia (especially over-conditioned twoyear-olds) due to increased intrapelvic fat, they are costly to maintain in that condition and they have impaired mobility.

THE BUFFER: Cows that have been on good summer country may be a condition score 7-8 when they come in for weaning, and our precalving targets for beef cows are for them to be a condition score 5. This means cows can afford to lose 2 body condition scores over autumn-winter which frees up feed/ supplement for other classes of stock.

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Rebecca Smith.

RUNNING A SPLIT-HERD SYSTEM: There will likely be a spectrum of individual animals at different body condition scores in your cow herd and some may need increased feeding to achieve the target body condition score 5, whereas others, as discussed above, can afford to lose condition to free up feed for others. They certainly won’t do this on their own in one mob, so in this situation it may be necessary to draft out those BCS 5 and below and work out a feed budget to feed these to achieve target by calving. The earlier you can do this the better as it is harder to increase body condition score in late pregnancy. The cattle with body condition score over 7 can be offered reduced feed levels, or lower quality feed so that they use some of the body fat off their backs and reach calving targets of BCS 5. By mobilising two body condition scores, a 560kg cow in BCS 7 at weaning requires 19% less energy over the 100 days post-weaning, than a cow that remains in BCS 7. If being fed supplementary feed this is equivalent to 12 bales of hay over the winter period (assuming 9 MJ ME/kg DM and 16kg DM bales). If the feed conserved is pasture, then this provides enough late winter feed to maintain 800 ewes at BCS 3 rather than have them drop to BCS 2.5. (Sheep are body condition scored on a 1-5 scale compared with cattle at a 1-10 scale, with a ewe’s target being BCS 3). This ability to measure, manage and monitor body condition score is an element of your business that you can control. As farmers, and people, it is more important than ever to take advantage of the opportunities we have to exert some control as we navigate a business environment where we are continuously faced with uncertainty; climatic, political, procurement, economic or otherwise. These small measures of control can have big impacts and are the difference between the making or the breaking in tough times. So take the opportunity, use the buffer and get condition scoring! I would like to acknowledge Beef + Lamb NZ for the examples and images used in this article, I would also recommend if you are interested in learning more about body condition scoring beef cattle you refer to the Beef Cow Body Condition Scoring resource https://beeflambnz. com/knowledge-hub/PDF/beef-cow-body-conditionscoring produced by Beef + Lamb NZ in conjunction with Landcorp, Massey University & AgFirst.

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Pure Aberdeen Angus Genetics in a robust, compact package

Lowlines are polled beef cattle bred for today with a pure Aberdeen Angus heritage. Unique in the cattle world, having proven their suitability and viability within the commercial beef sector whilst also being ideally suited to the lifestyle farmer, they are an ideal choice of service bull for dairy heifers. Bred for functionality, conformation and performance from paddock to plate, Lowlines are renowned for docile temperament, high-quality grass-finished beef, ease of calving, high fertility, breeding longevity, feed efficiency, and all on a compact beefy frame.

To learn more about this amazing breed, visit: or contact a New Zealand Lowline Cattle Stud directly: NORTH ISLAND BBQ Ranch C B Farms Heathcote Ironclad Kaitake Lowland Park Mangapiko Peak Rancho Radiata Smokey Hollow Te Ia Farms

Maurice and Lee-Anne Butler Alan and Susan Birt Warren Butterworth Shanan and Michelle Millar John and Fiona Henchman Matt and Tania Wilkinson David and Katrina Birchall Dylan Beardmore David and Christina Clee Garry and Fay Read Robyn and Paul Gedye

Kevin and Penny Harmer Gordon and Debbie Guthrie Phil and Kay Worthington

SOUTH ISLAND Araawa Stud Ashmore Stud Woolstone Park


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May 2020


Brent and Nathan Page with the remaining R3 steers in Golden Bay.

Beef calves give flexibility A range of beef options adds diversity to a Golden Bay dairy operation. Anne Hardie reports.


athan Page and his family milk 1400 dairy cows in Golden Bay and only the Jersey-cross calves from heifers go on the bobby truck. Friesian bull calves are reared and sold at weaning, all heifer Hereford-cross progeny are sold as feeder calves, while most of the Hereford-cross bull calves are finished as two-year-old steers. To add another income stream, they buy in up to 70 Jersey bull calves that will be sold later as rising two- year-olds to dairy farmers. The Page family has expanded its farming operation near Takaka from the same land Nathan’s forefathers carved out of the bush from 1852. At one stage in

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those early years, a small acreage of hops was grown for the country’s fledgling beer industry. Little by little over the decades, more bush was cleared and eventually the poor, pakihi soils were developed into productive dairy country. Neighbouring farms have been incorporated into the farming business over the years and today the family runs a milking platform of 580 hectares. Alongside the Golden Bay dairy units, a further 80ha is used as a beef and cropping unit, while over the Takaka Hill near Motueka is 650ha used for dairy support and beef. About 250ha of the latter is leased land, while in Golden Bay the beef block is on a two-year lease-to-buy contract. Only 60 minutes by road separates the

Golden Bay dairy farms from the Motueka farm – double that for a truck and trailer load of cattle – but they are distinctly different climates and country. In Golden Bay, the rain is measured in metres and each year the farms get a decent drenching between 2.5m and 2.7m. Whereas on the Motueka farm it’s a mere 1.2m and the Moutere clay hills dry out in typically drought-prone Nelson style. Nathan is operations manager and lives on the Golden Bay dairy farm with his wife Emma and three young children who are the seventh generation on the farm. His father, Brent, is still very much involved in the farming operation even though he has moved off the farm with his wife, Kathy. For the past 14 years they have been keeping an increasing number of calves,


Top: Friesian-Hereford-cross steers add another income stream to the business. Above: Brent Page with some of the 1400 cows milked on the Golden Bay farm.

‘When dairy is down, usually beef is pretty good and props it up a little bit. And it makes sense for the Motueka farm to provide income rather than be just dairy support.’


partly to make use of the land they had near Motueka and because financially it’s worth the equivalent of $1kg milksolids (MS) to their income – the dairy farms produce about 560,000kg MS each season. It also simply made sense to raise those calves rather than put them on the bobby truck for their minimal returns. Covid-19 has shown how quickly everything can change in the world and Nathan says the range of beef options in their operation gives them diversity to help ride out downturns. When one income stream is down, the other can often fare better. In the past, when the milk payout fell to $3.90/kg MS, it was the stock sales that provided vital cashflow for the business. “When dairy is down, usually beef is pretty good and props it up a little bit. And it makes sense for the Motueka farm to provide income rather than be just dairy support.” The milking herd is made up of big Friesian cows, though Nathan began breeding toward a smaller-framed cow this year to achieve a good mix of litreage and milkfat. At mating, the herd is artificially inseminated (AI) for four weeks to produce replacement heifer calves and that also produces about 120 Friesian bull calves which are reared to weaning at 100kg. For the past few years they have been sold to the same buyer in the North Island at market rate and last year those bull calves fetched between $500 and $550 each.

All of the calves born on the dairy farms are given colostrum for four days and then taken in their own truck over the hill to the Motueka farm where a small dairy is set up to milk 30 to 35 cows to feed these calves. “They are all reared on full milk and it’s so easy. We milk the cows and chuck it in the feeder and the calves’ weight gains are good.” A farm manager and farm assistant are employed full time on the Motueka farm and have the job of raising the beef calves and taking them through to two-year-olds. After four weeks of AI on the dairy farm, Hereford bulls that are bought as yearlings from a Fox Glacier breeder, Wayne Williams, are run with the herd for six weeks to produce the beef-cross stock. This year they bought 15 15-month Hereford bulls and Nathan says they have been ideal to produce calves with a low birthweight but fast weight gain and an essential good temperament. The herd produces about 500 beef calves and they keep about 170 of the earlier bull calves for themselves, then sell the rest when they are four days old to the same local buyers who have bought them for a number of years. Last year the Herefordcross heifer calves sold for $150 and similar bull calves between $180 and $200. Those bull calves that are reared on the Motueka farm are run in groups of 40 while they are being fed cows’ milk and at weaning the 140 or so are split into two herds that will be taken through to prime beef as two year olds. It’s a simple grass system with a bit of hay and balage to keep them full through winter and maintain weight. Spring growth takes the steers to between 500 and 600kg liveweight, with the first ready to go to the works in November. This past season they had 180 two-yearolds to finish and managed to get two loads of 40 away before Christmas for $6.20/kg, adding up to about $2000 per animal. Then the price plummeted, leaving them with 80 now R3 steers to farm on until the price lifts. Running lower stock numbers gives them the flexibility to do that. Normally they would have all the two-year-old beefies gone before winter, but they have the feed to take those 80 remaining steers through winter if needed. As a dairy support block the Motueka

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farm carries all the R1 and R2 dairy heifers as well as 100 carryover cows, plus winters between 300 and 350 cows. That means it carries 300 R1 heifers which get a bit of kale crop through winter, plus grass and hay. The 300 in-calf R2 heifers head back over the Takaka Hill at the end of July to calve on the dairy farms. In Golden Bay, the lease-to-buy farm has part of it incorporated into the milking platform and the rest is for beef, with the stocking rate still low. They didn’t want to milk any more cows, so the beef side works well on it, while still having the flexibility for dairy support. Between the properties in Golden Bay, the bulk of the dairy herd is wintered with the help of good June grass growth and about 13ha of swedes. This winter the Pages are budgeting on 20 tonnes/ha from the swede crop, but Nathan says it could be a 24t/ha crop. One of their strengths as a business, Nathan says, is having the gear to spread fertiliser themselves as well as ground work

and drilling, without having to queue for contractors. Golden Bay’s high-rainfall climate combined with areas of pakihi soil makes regular dressings of fertiliser essential and it is a big advantage to apply it themselves. “It means we can get the fertiliser on when we want it and that’s a big thing for us, especially in spring. We can get it on a couple of days before the rain and get a good response from it. It’s money in the bank when you can do it like that.” The only time they get contractors in, is for baling balage and hay or chopping pit silage, with all the grass supplements cut on farm for the stock. Carting their own stock is another strength, especially with properties on both sides of the Takaka Hill. These days they have two truck and trailer units that have been valuable assets since the threat of Mycoplasma bovis. Between calves, heifers, cows and supplements between farms, the units get good use and give them more flexibility to move stock around if they need to.

Nathan with Lucas and Belle in Golden Bay.



Thursday 11th June 2020 at 2pm



On Farm Auction, St Leonards Road, Culverden

45 Quiet, Grunty Charolais SAM HOLLAND

Hemingford Culverden M: 021 181 4868 E:


Alfriston Herefords Hanmer Springs M: 0275 315 656 E:


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Hill Country Cattle thriving in any environment Proven Genetics Predictable Performance

Stuart & Maria 027 8484 408 Donald & Marlene 06 376 7250 Douglas & Dara 06 376 7765 Everyday is an Open Day

Otapawa Spark Otapawa Red Lord TH Frontier MCM Bolt Centennial L18 Okawa Rommel 7003

Otapawa Poll Herefords On Farm Bull Sale 2nd June 2020

12 noon, 351 Haunui Rd, Tiraumea


Welcoming the World Hereford Conference 2020

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Above: Premium quality beef must have marbling, or intra-muscular fat (IMF) to create good eating qualities. Above, right: Will Wilding: ‘We jumped at the opportunity to get behind AngusPure.’

New venture focused on consumers BY: SARAH IVEY


onsumers around the world are demanding more than just grass-fed beef. They want beef that will provide them with an eating experience. They want beef that delivers juiciness, tenderness and most importantly, they want more flavour in every mouthful. In many countries including New Zealand, simply marketing a product as being grass-fed’ is no longer good enough. Environmental impact, animal health and husbandry, sustainability and being pasture raised rather than feedlot or barnraised are factors that are becoming more and more important to consumers, who increasingly research their food and where it comes from. It’s widely known throughout the retail meat and farming industries that premium quality beef must have marbling, or intramuscular fat (IMF) to create good eating qualities. Part of getting IMF into a carcase is feed related, but most of it has been genetically programmed into the animal from conception. A cattle beast’s EBVs are crucial in being able to predict what said

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carcase might look like when it’s killed, provided it’s been consuming enough high-quality feed. AngusPure NZ have partnered with a group of 89 Angus stud breeders who share in their vision to create what they’re referring to as an ‘AngusPure Moment’. A moment in time when anyone, anywhere in the world can share in the finest grassfed eating experience. Will Wilding of Te Mania Angus in North Canterbury says stud breeders are in the business of breeding bulls that go on to produce cattle with a high yield and good carcase attributes. “We jumped at the opportunity to get behind AngusPure so that together we can provide consumers with more of what they want.” The AngusPure beef supply chain begins with these AngusPure Partners, who are working alongside them with the help of companies such as Zoetis and Allflex to collect data and improve the genetics and efficiencies within their herds. They’re ensuring their stud bulls have the information needed to help commercial farmers make more informed decisions when buying sires for their farming operations.

AngusPure director Guy Sargent says the joint goal is creating more premium quality beef for the consumer and it is great to have so many Angus studs from across NZ get behind the brand. AngusPure Special Reserve is sold in the United States by Broadleaf Game and in Hong Kong and Macau by Sutherland Gastronomy Group. This beef has a minimum marbling requirement of two on the AUS-MEAT scale and as demand for the product steadily increases. “It is crucial to ensure the supply of high marbling beef being produced is increasing year-on-year.” Since Partnering with the studs, AngusPure have also been able to gain more bargaining power and traction in the marketplace. It has joined forces with bidr online trading platform. Bidr are holding dedicated AngusPure cattle sales on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm and these sales are only open to sellers who are clients of an AngusPure Partner stud or tag their cattle with AngusPure Source & Trace tags.

• Supplied by AngusPure.



An outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis on the Central Otago farm managed by Jason Sutherland led to a rethink and a new direction.

Oversight leads to total reset BY: LYNDA GRAY


run-in with Mycoplasma bovis was a big kick in the guts for Tinwald farm manager Jason Sutherland. During September 1200 cattle, mainly Wagyu, and bull beef went out the gate for slaughter. It was a full-stop to the M bovis episode that took six months to resolve thanks to an administration oversight by MPI. Tinwald were part of First Light’s Wagyu programme (Country-Wide June 2019) finishing weaners from Canterbury breeders over two winters. In February last year they were grazing 450 R2 and 800 R1 Wagyu as well as 200 R2 beef bulls. There were also 300 R2 dairy heifer grazers that were due to return to their home in May. In March Jason and farm owners Amanda and Adrian Currie got the news that the R2 Wagyu were from an M bovispositive farm which led to the testing of Tinwald’s cattle. The testing uncovered positive animals in three of the five mobs,


but the fate of the cattle was put on hold until the further analysis of blood tests which were sent off in May. It took until August to be told by MPI that all the R2 weaners had to be slaughtered. “Apparently the results had been sitting on someone’s desk and never got processed and it was only when we followed up that we got told. In the meantime we fed out 4500 bales of balage to the 11,000 stock units we were wintering,” Jason says. Meanwhile the dairy heifers were tested clear and were returned home at the end of June. The R2 bulls weren’t so lucky, some tested positive which was frustrating because they were grazed well away from the Wagyu mobs. “It showed that the disease had made it on to the farm through two separate pathways.” In September the beef bulls and the Wagyu, including the R1s left Tinwald. “We hadn’t tested the weaners but made the decision to send them away. It was hard at the time but in hindsight I’m glad

we did it because it gave us the opportunity for a complete reset.” During the six week stand down from further cattle trading the Curries and Jason had the time to review, reflect and reset the Tinwald system. The Curries, formerly of Christchurch, bought the farm in 2012 transforming it from a dryland Merino business to an intensive dryland and grazing and finishing system. It’s been an ever-evolving system starting with dairy grazing and steer finishing then swapping out the steers with bull beef. Wagyu, a higher gross margin option, were taken on to replace most of the bull beef from early in 2018. Lanaco ewes and hoggets, and Headwaters hoggets were also grazed. Over time the pivot irrigated area was increased to 470 hectares and pastures upgraded mostly with hybrid ryegrass Shogun. The productive platform was in place, and the irrigation water reliable and relatively cheap. However, production output never met expectations mostly

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Right: In February last year they were grazing 450 R2 and 800 R1 Wagyu as well as 200 R2 beef bulls.

due to the notoriously dry January and February period when the pivot irrigation couldn’t sustain feed growth. “We’d end up in a black hole because our growth curve just didn’t fit with what we were grazing.” New farm management is based around a mainly closed breeding and finishing system, rather than the trading of sheep and cattle. Trading cattle have been replaced with 200 Angus breeding cows to help develop the 100ha of low rolling hill country. The area will be developed with suitable dryland species to provide higher quality feed in late autumn and early spring. About half of the Angus herd will be bred to Angus and the rest to Speckle Parks. The Lanaco and Headwaters sheep grazing arrangement was terminated and 2500 Coopworth-Romney ewes and 500 hoggets bought in. Romney and Poll Dorset genetics with markers for LoinMax and Inverdale will be bred into the flock. “What we’re targeting is 180-200% lambing and high growth rates so that we can wean 80% of the lambs off mum before Christmas. “ At the same time there’s been a rethink on soil health and fertilizer following extensive testing. Heavily compacted soils were identified as a limiting factor leading to a non-tillage and non-synthetic fertiliser programme. The mostly Shogun ryegrass pastures, which tended to shut down during the

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height of summer, were replaced with a Hummer fescue-based chicory and red and white clover mix. Early results look promising with the new mix growing well at the end of January and hopefully growing from early spring. “It means we should be able to bring lambing forward to September 1 which will give us plenty of time to get lambs away early.” Also, lucerne has been sown under pivots as another source of quality green feed over summer. The real proof of success will be the comparison of grass production with C-Dax measurements taken fortnightly. Another addition to the new system are 150 milking ewes and a milking plant bought from Kerikeri with the view of establishing an onfarm sheep dairy. Long term the Curries want to develop a farm tourist stop-off at Tinwald which

is perfectly positioned alongside State Highway 8, the main road between Cromwell/Queenstown and Wanaka. Although still in the concept stage, the development might include farm-produced sheep dairy and meat products. Jason says he wouldn’t want to go through M Bovis again, but he’s philosophical about the experience and what it has led on to. “It’s been a pivotal steppingstone. Our system was intense and stressful, and I think that where we are moving now will better suit the property.” The reset wouldn’t have been possible without the support and open-mindedness of the Curries. “I think there are a lot of farm managers who would like to be involved in developing this kind of system. It’s great to have the support and backing of Amanda and Adrian who have made the best of what was a bad situation.”



Left: Cattle graze hillside pasture. Above: Jason Rowntree.

US gains from system change BY: LYNDA GRAY


educed inputs, including the elimination of N-P-K fertiliser, while increasing utilisation by 35% over five years were the big paybacks of a regenerative grazing management system for cattle run at a Michigan State University research farm. The wins were overviewed at the second day of the World Hereford Conference by Jason Rowntree, Associate Professor of Animal Science at Michigan State University (MSU). “We are enjoying 35% more stock days an acre or cow days an acre, meaning I am harvesting 35% more grass than what I did prior.” During a woolshed presentation at Earnscleugh Station near Alexandra he

told delegates about the transformation of the 120-hectare research cattle breeding and finishing farm at Lake City from a traditional grass system to a regenerative system. The farm had an 890mm rainfall and 3.8 metres of snow a year, and pasturewise was comparable to extensive farms in the southern South Island. He defined ‘regenerative’ agriculture as management to enhance and restore a resilient system which supports and is supported by functional ecosystem processes and healthy soils. The regenerative system at Lake City farm was based on adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing, where high density grazing is followed by long periods of recovery for the land. This type of grazing mimicked the natural grazing patters of wild ruminants, he said, and allowed for a deeper, healthier

Lake City Research Farm changes 1980-2010


120ha (effective)

570ha (effective)

Two-month winter hay feeding

One-month winter hay feeding

Tractor/loader use 800 hours a year

Tractor/loader use 300 hours a year

More labour needed for hay making/feeding

Reduced labour

Regular fertilizer applications

No N-P-K

Cow weight average 725kg LW

Cow weight average 544kg LW

160 cows eat 18kg DM a day

185 cows consuming 15-20% less


root system which built organic matter in the soil, and improved moisture retention. A published paper in 2018 reported a 3 tonne/ha soil carbon sequestration across the farm in the four years after transition. Under the system, applications of N-P-K stopped point blank in 2010, along with anthelmintic drench which was replaced with parasite monitoring. Also, the amount of hay made onfarm was reduced. The area that was set aside for hay was included in the grazing system to increase the effective area. He said the management was a combination of stock density and appropriate plant recovery tied to a grazing and financial plan. “We constantly juggle the needs of our yearlings and the needs of the land, using the cows as a tool.” Aside from the grazing management, genetics were also changed. The cows were downsized with the introduction of Red Angus genetics from 725kg to a 540kg liveweight (LW) average. The productive benefits of downsizing were vindicated by research that showed a 450kg LW cow weaned the most liveweight per hectare. He wasn’t necessarily pushing for New Zealand beef producers to follow the AMP system and said that from his observations NZ grazing systems were managed to a

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much higher degree than those in the United States. However, he would be interested to see what types of changes would occur if all the “exogenous nitrogen” was eliminated. “I think the microbial life of the soil would improve, and that adding greater diversity would improve the land without sacrificing much in production. It would also keep a lot of nitrogen out of your waterways. That’s my hypotheses anyway.” His message for NZ beef farmers was that they were making society better, not worse. “I think that through misaligned reductionary science, beef cattle are getting a bad look.” However, he said when they were in a properly managed grazing system there could be considerable ecosystem benefits while providing a healthful and enjoyable eating experience. All farmers should be pushing themselves to lower fertiliser inputs and consider adding more diversity to pastures. “I wish there were mechanisms through industry or the government to soften any short-term financial losses, but I think long-term the approach will be more profitable, especially with emissions restrictions looming.”

Missionaries from abroad BY: DOUG EDMEADES


am getting tired of missionaries arriving on our shores teaching “grandma” (the New Zealand pastoral farmer) to suck eggs! It appears that Dr Jason Rowntree falls into this category. Some of his ramblings are selfcontradictory. Some of his advice is dangerous. He talks about the huge benefits they have had in Michigan, United States, adopting what he calls Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing, a smartarsed acronym for rotational grazing. He is quoted as saying that “He wasn’t necessarily pushing for NZ beef producers to follow the AMP system.” He then goes on to do exactly that, repeating some of the dogmatic mantra that is now known as regenerative agriculture – e.g. pasture diversity, enhanced soil microbial life, reducing environmental footprint, improved pasture production etc, ad nauseum. He is quoted as saying that from his

observations “… New Zealand grazing systems were managed to a much higher degree than those in the United States” I wonder if it occurred to him that NZ pastoral farmers pioneered the use of rotational grazing back in the mid 1950s. Of course, we do it better! He tells us that under the AMP system applications of fertilisers “stopped point blank in 2010.” He advises us: “I think you should be pushing yourself to lower your fertiliser inputs…” This is regenerative agriculture at its worst and it is seriously dangerous advice. Remember the 1980s when subsidies on fertiliser were removed? Farmers stopped applying fertiliser and their farms quickly went backwards as the soil fertility levels were mined down. If you do not replace the nutrients in the produce you send off the farm then you are going backwards. It is not sustainable, period! Everyone is entitled their opinion. The opinions I like are those based in sound science and logical reasoning.


Wednesday 24th June 2020 12:30pm, State Highway 2 Nuhaka

2020 SIRES:




GRANT & SUE CRAWSHAW - 027 686 7753 -

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May 2020



Right bull can lift weights by 45kg BY: REBECCA HICKSON


atest results from the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics dairy beef progeny test show that up to 45kg of additional carcaseweight can be achieved by mating dairy cows to the right beef bulls. Across the 2016 and 2017 seasons, 39 Hereford and 34 Angus bulls were mated via AI to crossbred dairy cows at Limestone Downs, Port Waikato. The resulting calves were run in large mobs until finishing at 23-31 months at an average of 500kg and 600kg liveweight for heifers and steers, respectively. Based on their estimated breeding values (EBVs), bulls were selected for lighter than breed average birth weight, gestation length and 600-day weight. With gestation length and 600-day weight, bulls were selected with a range of EBVs, to assess the relationship between EBV and actual performance, aware the dairy farmer wants a short gestation and the beef farmers wants heaviest carcaseweight. Earlier reports out of this progeny test show Beedplan EBVs are good predictors of birth weight and gestation length. None of the test’s bulls caused calving difficulty when used over the cow herd. Calves were hand-reared and weaned at 90kg. At three to four months old – weighing a minimum of 100kg – they moved from the dairy unit to its sheep and beef farm. At four months old, calves were allocated to their lifetime mobs – based on weight and sex – where they remained until processing. They were weighed at 200, 400, 600 days old, before being processed at a mean age of two years and four months.

PROCESSING DETAILS Once the mob average reached target weight, that mob was processed as a group at Hamilton’s Greenlea Premier Meats. The requirement for all cattle to go in a group meant there was considerable


Figure 1: Birthweight vs Carcaseweight Big steak Lean $1390

Good fat levels Small carcass $1292

Big carcass. Small steak. Meat quality issues $1472


255 kg

237 kg

270 kg


98 cm2

74 cm2

62 cm2

Fat depth

3 mm

8 mm

6 mm





Meat Colour




Fat Colour








Shear Force




variation in animal liveweights. An impressive 97% of 1017 cattle graded P2, and the remainder were L2. Carcaseweight and dressing-out percentage were affected by sire, as was eye muscle area. Therefore, for carcases of the same weight, the proportion of weight in the high value muscles varied among sires. Of the 1017 animals processed, none were downgraded for yellow fat. The majority scored 3 on the fat colour 0-9 scale (higher is more yellow, and less desirable). Sire did not affect fat or meat colour, or ultimate pH. Marbling was low overall (mean 0.9), with few carcases exceeding 1 and none exceeding 3 on the marble score 0-9 scale (higher is more marbled). However, there was considerable variation among sires. The best sire achieved a progeny mean of

Rebecca Hickson.

1.6, compared with 0.3 for the worst sire. Meat samples were taken from 371 cattle, as a random selection of progeny from a selection of sires and dairybeef meat quality held its own against traditional beef. Most sires followed the expected pattern of heavier calves at birth growing to become heavier carcases (see Figure 1). However, there were some sires that

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May 2020

Meat samples were taken from 371 cattle, as a random selection of progeny from a selection of sires and dairy-beef meat quality held its own against traditional beef. produced above average carcases, despite their progeny being born at below average birth weight. There was a spread of carcaseweights at any birth weight. This means that a dairy farmer wanting calves to be born in the 36-37kg range can select sires that achieve this, but these calves could vary by more than 30kg in carcaseweight. On the flip side, there were sires that produced calves that were heavier than average at birth, but lighter than average at processing. The key is to target the EBV for birthweight and 600-day weight. It is worth noting that, while fourday-old calf weight (as indicated by

birthweight) is a better indicator of finishing performance compared to no selection criteria at all, there is still large variation in carcaseweight for any range of birth weight. Ideally, rearers should buy calves through established relationships, where they know a good growth bull has been used. Note: Across all the traits, sire averages were adjusted for sex and mob. Fat traits were better for heifers, while size traits were better for steers. • Associate Professor Rebecca Hickson is the B+LNZ Genetics dairy-beef progeny test project leader, Massey University.

Key messages for dairy farmers and calf rearers: • A huge pool of bulls available can be used safely over dairy cows and improve gestation length and calf value. • High quality beef can be produced from dairy beef calves. • Selecting finishing traits and calving traits can greatly increase the value of the calf to the rearer and finisher, without affecting calving performance. • Sire has a big impact on growth and carcase traits of dairy-beef calves. • Calves heavy at four days of age are not necessarily heavy at finishing. Knowing the sires’ EBVs will help you judge potential.

5TH ANNUAL YEARLING BULL SALE 22 SEPTEMBER 2020 Approximately 45 sale bulls sired by: Millah Murrah Loch Up L133 Takapoto 17/13 Storth Oaks K20 Takapoto 17/11 Takapoto 15/167 Yon Swamp Fox C649 (IMP USA) Takapoto 15/171 Yon Full Force C398 (IMP USA) All inquiries and visitors welcome Sam Le Cren • Ph 027 474 9989 or 07 870 2702 Email Country-Wide Beef

May 2020



Dairy with a side of beef BY: SANDRA TAYLOR


ichard and Chrissie Wright always planned to become beef farmers but used dairying as a way to achieving this goal. While they both grew up on sheep and beef farms, the Mt Somersbased couple started out sharemilking in 1994 and gradually built their equity and land holdings so that their business, Tamar Farm, now incorporates three dairy units and a beef operation covering 1850 hectares (1739ha effective). The beef part of their operation includes Red Devon and Hereford cross breeding cow herds and their progeny is run alongside the dairy and dairy cross beef from their dairy farms. Most calves born


within their business are grown out and finished within Tamar Farm. All male calves are left entire. The couple recently hosted a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farming for Profit field day which focused on dairy beef integration. The couple told attendees that a few years ago they decided to run a closed operation, a decision that has served them well from both a biosecurity and efficiency point of view. There is minimal waste in their system, with very few bobby calves and feed, water and labour resources are fully utilised across the wider business. Bulls bred from the Wright’s Red Devon herd are used over their dairy heifers and as follow-up bulls, so the only imported genetics come through a straw and this includes genetics for the Red Devon and

Hereford herds. The dairy units, which are collectively milking 3250 cows, are all operated by sharemilkers as the Wrights were eager to help other young people on the industry ladder, as they themselves were given the opportunity 26 years ago.

CALF REARING FOR BEEF The use of sharemilkers has given Richard and Chrissie the time to focus on the overall business, particularly on their beef production. Chrissie rears more than 800 nonreplacement calves every year and these are collected from the dairy units when they are four-days-old. The Wrights’ calf rearing systems is based on the Poukawa system. The calves are fed waste or milk bought from their dairy

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May 2020

farms, initially starting off with three litres of milk twice a day for two weeks. They have ad-lib access to meal from day one. After two weeks, the calves are put on to once-a-day feeding, getting four litres of milk/head/day along with 1.5kg meal. The beef cross calves are weaned at 63kg, which is about six weeks of age. Chrissie says the calves don’t experience a weaning check at all, because by then meal and grass are making up the bulk of their diets. She says the single most important factor in calf rearing is colostrum and she is fastidious about ensuring the calves have had good quality colostrum before she collects them. Chrissie regularly tests the quality of colostrum with a refractometer as she says she has found it is difficult to assess colostrum quality by eye. This attention to detail pays off as quality colostrum, running a closed operation and good management practices means their mortality rates are very low. Last year they only had four deaths out of 860 calves. “Good hygiene is important but colostrum is very important,” Chrissie says. One of the reasons they wean the calves at about six weeks is that meal, which they make themselves, is cheaper than milk and the protein levels in the meal are adjusted according to age. At the outset the calves are given meal (a mix of wheat, barley, soybeans and minerals) with 20% protein and protein levels are dropped back to 18% and 16% as the calves get older.

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May 2020

High protein levels can cause diarrhoea, but the calves always have access to straw. The calves stay inside the calf rearing shed for their first two weeks before being moved out onto sheltered pasture paddocks with a calfeteria. They are kept outside in mobs of 50. At about 12 weeks, or when the calves are about 100kg, they stop feeding the meal, although it is a gradual process. In autumn, the calves are put into mobs of 100-150 in weight ranges and in winter the mobs are divided again, with the larger calves being run in smaller mobs of about 50. This means that across the whole operation, they can have more than 53 mobs that need moving daily. Every year 600 two-year-old bulls and 140, 18-month-old Friesian bulls are sold to Alliance and beef cross heifers are sold prime for local trade processed at the Ashburton abattoir.

RED DEVON HERD BUILT UP Richard’s family back in the United Kingdom run a Red Devon herd so he was eager to run the breed when the business allowed. They couple now run 300 breeding cows and 141 heifers which calve as two- year- olds. The Red Devons calve in autumn as this is a better fit with the farm’s workload and means they have the maximum number of mouths on the farm to manage pasture quality in spring. Conversely, it means they are trying

Top: The beef part of their operation includes Red Devon and Hereford cross breeding cow herds. Above: Richard and Chrissie Wright have incorporated two beef breeding cow herds and a beef finishing operation within their business.

to mate the cows in winter and to do this, they do need to feed them a lot of supplement to keep them on a rising plane of nutrition over the five-week mating period. The cows start calving on March 1 with a mean calving date of March 12. This autumn calving also means the Red Devon bulls, which they use over the dairy heifers, are 18 months old rather than


Beef cross calves from the dairy part of the Wright’s business are all reared by Chrissie.

yearlings. The Wrights also sell about 60 bulls to the dairy industry every year. To get the Red Devon genetics they want, they artificially inseminate 100 of their best heifers every to two to three years (the balance go to another breed to avoid confusion) and get about 50% conception. The resulting bulls are used over the cows. The calves are weaned in December on to good quality pasture on the Wrights’ dryland block. Richard describes the Red Devon cows as a pasture management tool and while their progeny are slow maturing, the carcases are well-marbled and pH levels are consistently good. The latter can, in part, be attributed to the fact that all mobs on Tamar Farms are shifted daily so are used to being handled and the Wrights have a no dogs policy. A herd of 100 Hereford Friesian breeding cows produce big, fast-growing calves thanks to the Friesian genetics, but Richard says they struggle to get enough energy into these lactating cows over winter. These cows are being inseminated with Hereford genetics to breed a more Hereford-type.

salt - essential to life

Salt may be one of the most cost-effective methods of increasing production. Research1 has shown that sodium supplementation can give a significant production response.



• Sodium in some form should be available at all times all year round • Dairy cows’ salt requirements increase significantly when lactating as large amounts of sodium are excreted in milk • Young animals in rapid growth need sodium for new tissue formation • Appetite suppression is linked to sodium deficiency • Supplementary feeds can be low in sodium

SUMMIT MULTIMINERAL SALT BLOCKS Used all year round and is formulated to provide essential sodium and a supplementary source of trace minerals. Also available as a handy salt mix which is easily combined with feed in troughs or hoppers. 1


Salt addition to diet optimises production Salt supplementation can increase feed intake Convenient and cost effective for all year round use Trace Minerals for animal health

AgResearch trials at Te Waikite Valley, 2000, Mike O’Conner and Martin Hawke


For more information visit our web site Country-Wide Beef May 2020

IRRIGATION ADDS STRENGTH A total of 1090ha of the farm is irrigated and the breeding cows are run on the 650ha dryland parts of the farm which is also used for dairy support over winter. Soil fertility over the farm is good with Olsen P levels sitting between 30-and 35 and pH levels of about 6. A stony riverbed area, which is less fertile, is valuable in spring as grass comes away early. Because of its proximity to a river, the area is no longer used for wintering cows. Soil tests are carried out annually at GPS quadrants and herbage tests are carried out as required. Salt is mixed with fertiliser dressings in autumn to help prevent bloat in spring. A total of 70kg/ha of nitrogen/year is applied over the dryland block and this includes a dressing in April as pasture growth rates are slowing. This helps push feed into winter. A total of 100ha of new grass is sown annually and 200ha is under-sown. Chicory, plantain and clover is over-sown on all pastures, particularly on the dryland blocks.

About 200ha of fodder beet and 14ha of kale are planted for winter feed.

TECHNOLOGY TO THE FORE Richard and Chrissie aim to run a highly profitable, intensive and efficient operation while being both economically and environmentally sustainable. To help them achieve these goals, they are making use of a range of technologies and following best-practice management principals to drive production while limiting costs. Amongst the tools they use are Farmax, which they use to model different management scenarios, Cowmanager and Allflex health tags, MINDA weights, LIC space for satellite pasture growth measurements, Aquaflex for soil moisture monitoring used to drive irrigation management decisions and proof of placement fertiliser application to minimise waste. A grade A farm environment plan also underpins management decisions. The couple make use of social media to promote their business and their Tamar Farm meat.

Who ate all the pies? Richard and Chrissie’s no-waste philosophy extends to turning the by-products from their Red Devon beef into pies. The couple used to own a restaurant to which they supplied their own Red Devon beef. While they had the market for the prime cuts, it was the by-products that were a challenge - hence the pies which they sell frozen from their home along with chorizo, salami and other beef cuts.



Wednesday 3rd June at 12pm. Wednesday 3rd June at 12pm. 40 Bulls - Inspection & enquiries welcome. All bulls sire verified, semen & soundness tested BVD tested & fully vaccinated.

Angus & Trish Thomson 902 Admiral Road, Gladstone - Ph: 06 3727065 - M: 027 211 8477

Proven Performance - Consistence Quality Breeding Country-Wide Beef

May 2020



Against the grain with grass-fed BY: VICTORIA O’SULLIVAN


anadian-based Kiwi farmer Ben Stuart is used to people looking at him like he’s a bit nuts. Grass finishing beef cattle in Saskatchewan? With winters that last six months? You’ll never do it with those American Angus genetics! But where there is challenge, there is opportunity. Taking note of changing consumer demands along with the increased environmental and social expectation experienced in other countries, Ben is setting up his grass-fed beef farming systems to take advantage of changing


global dynamics in food production – in particular pasture-raised, non-antibiotic, non-hormone beef. Originally from the Wairarapa, Ben, his Canadian wife Sian and children, Ava and Sullivan, are in partnership setting up an 8000-hectare farm near Yorkton in southeastern Saskatchewan for grass-finishing beef. They also oversee another 8000ha farm 800km away at Hardisty, Alberta, which Ben managed for 10 years. Together the farms run about 3000 Angus breeding cows, retaining all their own progeny and finishing 500 head on a grass-fed contract. Along with the cash crop component, total carrying capacity will increase over the next few years with further development.

An entirely grass-fed farming model similar to a New Zealand system is markedly different to the way most cattle operations are run in Western Canada. Typical operations are somewhere between traditional ranching (extensive pastoral grazing) or intensive feedlot finishing. While Ben is not against feedlots, the environmental implications of condensing a number of animals over a small area and the cost of supplementing feed for extended periods prompted him to look at alternatives. “That’s why we have taken a different route – I can see more pressure coming on the traditional systems because of changing consumer views around animal welfare and environmental pressures.

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May 2020

Pre-calving cattle drive.

‘Our big thing has been trying to keep production low cost to where we are competitive at a commodity level, and if we can get a premium for it and establish another market then that’s kind of a win-win.’

“But because we are still raising and selling beef, any negative perceptions are going to affect us, even if we are using different production practices. “So whether it’s Canada or NZ, it’s important we highlight the positive attributes of beef and livestock production, no matter what system we produce them in.”

CHASING GRASS-FED EFFICIENCY Ben has brought in NZ genetics from Pinebank and Waigroup Angus in the Wairarapa to ensure increased feed

efficiency and quicker finishing on grass. North American Angus are specifically bred for feedlot finishing, meaning they are larger and take longer to mature. “Winter feeding is by far the biggest expense in the Canadian beef industry. We need to make sure we have efficient cows that can handle the pressure, and when killing at a younger age it’s important we get the finish and grade on them.” In order to fill a 12-month grass-finished supply, they start killing at 18-months and no older than 30-months. Steers are targeted at 600kg-700kg finished liveweight. “Mad cow disease (BSE) had a huge impact on the Canadian beef industry in 2003,” Ben says. “One of the stipulations after that was all graded animals need to be slaughtered before 30-months of age. The price drop between graded and non-graded is huge, so we have a select window to make things happen.” They’ve found it difficult to get traction supplying their grass-fed beef through existing companies, so the plan is to market it themselves. “We can see the market for grass-fed is there,” he says. “We’re seeing a bunch coming in like Aussie imported grass-fed. If we can produce it here, most retailers would sell Canadian over imported, as long as price wasn’t out of whack.” There’s an existing natural, nonhormone, non-antibiotic market they sell into, which offers a small premium over commodity and is traditionally for grainfinished beef. “Our big thing has been trying to keep production low cost to where we are competitive at a commodity level, and if we can get a premium for it and establish another market then that’s kind of a winwin.”


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when performance matters

“we make farming ezy” Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

0800 80 90 98


KEEPING THE WEIGHT ON The extreme winter conditions is the biggest challenge on the farm. “We can have six to seven months of winter, and you don’t get compensatory growth [like you do in NZ] when they go to grass after their winter feed programme. “In order to hit that 18-months [killing] age we’ve got ensure we are putting weight on these cattle from the day they are born, right through that winter period. That’s the trick to make sure they are growing.” He says despite temperatures that can reach -45C with wind, they’re fortunate it stays dry. “The cattle can actually still put on weight when it’s that cold, as long as they have shelter to get out of the wind. In NZ you have a dirty southerly, and it might not be cold but it’s wet and windy and miserable with mud everywhere, so there are some advantages.” Winter feeding includes swath grazing, where crops are cut with a windrower and then just left in rows under the snow and break fed. The cows will dig through the snow to feed. Swathed feed still green in the windrow.

in conjunction with


11th ANGUS BULL SALE 35 rising 2-year-old bulls

11a.m. Tuesday 26th May 2020




To be held at Clutha Downs Inspections welcome from 9.30am

PETERS ANGUS 689 Chinaman Flat Road, Beaumont, RD1, Lawrence, 9591 Otago Phone 03 446 6030 or 027 225 8330



DAN RAMSDEN 06 374 3889 HUGH RAMSDEN 06 374 3552 Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

“We can harvest some pretty good quality here and then it’s basically like putting it in a freezer, and it keeps really well under the snow in that form. “We can cut it down in October and it will still be almost as good as the day it was cut in February/March, so that’s kind of unique.” Traditional ranching in Canada sees cattle set-stocked all summer with minimal pasture management and no real renovation or development programmes. “One of the challenges in the cattle industry here is no one is making any money running cattle on this land,” Ben says. “When you look at the economics of ripping it up and seeding canola, you are better to, so that’s what is happening.” He says traditional ranchers may be lucky to make C$40(NZ$47)/acre, whereas a cropping farmer seeding canola may net C$200/acre(NZ$583/ha). “While that’s not really comparing apples with apples, if the cattle guys intensified a little bit more, rotated cattle and spent a bit more on management they would get a whole lot more

production out of it.” Ben is doing exactly this in the cattle operation, taking what was reasonably high-producing grainland at Yorkton and seeding it down to lucerne and grass. “We are going to intensively graze it and in five years’ time, we’ll break that up and cash crop it for two years, and that is our pasture renewal and cash crop rotation.” He says some cropping farmers are seeing the benefit in this type of diversification to spread risk. The cropping cycles are always up and down. They are on a lull with the cropping at the moment and farmers are looking for other ways to make revenue. “There are a few guys looking at adding lucerne to their rotations and making feed for a couple of years and then going back into crop, and that’s what we are doing and advocating.”

MIXING IT UP TO MINIMISE RISK Ben is partnered into a seed company called Union Forage that’s importing seed out of NZ and distributing it across Canada. He says his winter feed strategy is

not that different to how it’s done in NZ, bar seeding a number of mixed species. Very seldom are they seeding a monocrop. “We’ll throw in oats, turnips, rape and ryegrass, seed it altogether and grow a pretty diverse blend, then keep our cattle out there grazing. He’s even been known to throw a few sunflowers in the mix just to give locals something to talk about. “Seeding a whole bunch together means one thing is going to thrive no matter what the season does, if it’s dry, we’ve got some cereals in there. He says the more diverse the better. “We have a short growing season with only one chance to get it right so we need to be resilient.” He says the economics on this system work favourably compared with the traditional option of silage or greenfeed for 180-200 days a year, particularly in Saskatchewan. “When guys are feeding cows for three dollars a day and we can do a cow and calf for under a dollar, it just makes sense.”




Kaharau 306 purchased in partnership with Merchiston for $78,000 in 2019.

2020 Sale Bulls By: Te Mania Limitless 380, Atahua 785-12, Atahua 214-16, Atahua 216-16


Tangihau 465 photo taken in December out with 2yr old heifers with calves, a Hoover Dam bull calf standing infront of 465. Tangihau 465 was purchased in partnership with Merchiston for $24,000 in 2019.

2yr Bulls SALE DATE: 8th June, 2020 11.00am Wairarapa Angus Bull Walk to be confirmed

Enquiries and viewing welcome, contact:

NEIL KJESTRUP 06 372 2838

ROD KJESTRUP 06 372 7533

Check us out on Facebook: KayJay Angus

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May 2020

Manawatu/Wanganui:BULL WALK Tuesday 5th May


Alan and Michele Dalziell 283 McBeth Road, RD7, Feilding 4777 Ph: 06 328 9784 Mb: 027 629 8954 Email:

Colin and Louise Dalziell Ph: (06) 328 5011


FOLLOWING KIWI FOOTSTEPS Ben’s actively followed the evolution of the Kiwi farming system over the 12 years since he left NZ, and he’s been working to adopt many of the environmental principles into his systems. He expects environmental regulation will be met with resistance in parts of Western Canada. “I think British Columbia has been a bit more proactive on adopting environmental practices while the rest of Western Canada, the prairies, has been a little bit more ‘Wild West’,” he says. “If we can fence off waterways and riparian areas, then people are going to come and look at us as a model. We’re not going to get that pressure [from provincial regulators] if we’re proactive, whereas if we dig our heels in, they’ll make us do three times more because we are not wanting to play by the rules. We want to lead the way, as we can see the benefits for such practices.” Looking to the future, he says increasing land prices making it non-competitive to run livestock will remain a headwind for the beef industry. “It’s a tight margin game over here. If you are looking at traditional cattle feeding and the feedlot system, it’s economies of scale you need. The big guys are the ones that are hanging in there, the small guys with 6000-head feedlots are battling. [That] sounds like a lot but it’s not – you’ve got to be 20,000 head-plus.” “But if you are prepared to do something different you can probably make money, which is kind of the way we look at it,” he says. “We are going against the trend.” Ben says in an industry where sourcing good labour is increasingly difficult, they’ve been fortunate to employ a number of New Zealanders over the last 12 years. The count is now more than 70 Kiwis from managers to seasonal positions. “Each have left their mark and we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without their efforts and input.”

Right: Sullivan (22 months), Ben, Sian and Ava Stuart (3). Below: Swathed feed is break-fed during the winter months. Bottom: Even the dogs are immigrants.

Quality, Proven Speckle Park Genetics for any enquiries please phone Robbie Clark: M 0274 311 860 | E 138 

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020


Rating makes bull buying easier


The Completeness of Performance herd rating system can help bull buyers’ sort through many breeders quickly. Sharl Liebergreen explains.

am definitely drawn to the myriad images and videos on social media of rising two-year-old bulls being fattened for winter bull sales. Representing the best breeders can offer, touted with a short story, anecdote or simply a tug at the heart strings, they are impressive. I wonder though, if we are still in lockdown by the time this edition goes to air, how will buyers and breeders manage buying and selling without being able to see these beasts in the flesh? How will the visual assessment of feet, structure and all-important conformation be performed if there is only a virtual drumbeat, and the well-trodden path of studs and cattle yards is subject to lockdown protocol? One thing is for sure, not having to drive hundreds of kilometres looking for the next genetic improvement package could mean farmers have a little bit more time on their hands. Farmers may (and probably will) give the responsibility of securing future genetics to their stock agent. Farmers could, however, look for resources which are 100% free, to help them with the biggest decision of all – which breeder’s driveway to drive up, or in this case, whose

website to ponder upon. The Completeness of Performance herd rating system is one of those resources that can help bull buyers’ sort through many breeders quickly. The system assesses the quantity of pedigree and performance information. Each herd receives a star rating on a 0-5 scale (including half stars) that summarises the relative “completeness” of their performance information”. Yup, a star system for the recording programmes of beef breeders. Very easy to access in the inquiry search pages of the beef breed websites. And why is this important? – “one of the key factors underpinning the accuracy of EBVs is the quantity of performance information” and the more accurate the EBV, the more reliable they are. The more reliable they are, the more satisfied (from an EBV point of view) bull buyers should be. So, if breeders are rated, and this information is freely available, bull auction average sales statistics would reflect this, right? Farmers would tend to pay more for bulls from breeders who can provide more reliable EBVs? No, not necessarily. The Completeness of

Distribution of Hereford plus Angus breeders by Completeness of Performance rating

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May 2020

Performance herd rating system can help farmers identify breeders that meet their performance recording expectations, but I suspect it’s underutilised. It’s hard for breeders to record everything, on every animal, every single year. It might be more possible in a smaller herd, but smaller herds with fewer bulls on offer probably also find it harder to attract large numbers of buyers who are looking for larger teams of new bulls from one breeder. The auction ring relies on the fervour of large crowds (and wallets) to pulsate. It is encouraging to see the country’s larger herds tend to have Completeness of Performance herd ratings of 4.0-5.0 and when in full flight, their auctions are a sight to behold. Understanding what makes a difference to the bottom line under the payments systems in NZ, combined with being able to interpret the variety of sales catalogues in advance, could lead to a commercial herd genetically outperforming those of some studs. The international distribution of semen via artificial insemination (AI) means the most elite beef genetics internationally are available for multiplication by breeders or (dare I say it) commercial farmers directly. The Beef+Lamb NZ Genetics beef progeny test generated a raft of information, busted a myth or two, and it exposed the ease of doing AI at the commercial farm. Debate continues about return on investment but again, for those who are looking to innovate, AI is a real option and it’s a great way to offer something special to bull buyers on auction day. It places even more emphasis on complete performance recording to ensure progeny from international sires are thoroughly tested under NZ conditions. Entwined in all of this is the amount paid for bulls. Is it high? Ultimately, it’s an open market and buyers decide what’s high and what’s not. Beef prices are historically high which is great, but the gap between the behind the farm-gate beef price and the average bull price is widening. Utilising the many free resources to help bull buyers decide what breeder to consider and what a bull is worth would seem an opportunity. 


GENETICS | BULLS ONLINE Left: Bulls bought online should have a complete structural soundness examination when they arrive on farm.

Tips for buying bulls on-line BY: ANNA BOYD


ull sale season 2020 is very nearly upon us and some studs may move their sales to an online platform due to Covid-19 restrictions. This means it is even more important to spend time establishing your breeding objectives, matching traits to those objectives and continuing to develop your understanding of estimated breeding values (EBVs). Even if the lockdown is lifted by the start of the selling season, we have already seen a shift to online selling with the national sale now a video

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sale and some studs already choosing to sell online. Without the day-sale chat with the breeder and other buyers, are you confident enough to buy a bull based on videos/photos and the catalogue alone? The first step is to establish clear breeding objectives for your herd. How is the herd contributing to your production and profitability? Are there traits that you are nailing and just need to maintain? On the flip side, are there traits or trait groups that you believe you could improve? Examples of probing questions you might ask yourself: • At calf marking, are there a lot of laterborn calves?

• Is my scanning percentage acceptable? How does it compare to the industry average? • Am I culling more cows due to being wet-dry or weaning poorer calves? Determining what trait or trait groups (e.g: reproduction, growth or carcase quality) to maintain or to emphasise, can then assist in the selection of the relevant EBVs that are of more or less importance to your herd. There are a lot of them, so the key is to focus on and understand those traits you wish to emphasise before you buy. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call the breeder to ask more about the bull/bulls that interest you as well as confirmation of their own breeding objectives – do they match your own? Not only is breeding their ‘bread and butter’ but also their passion and expertise. They may just recommend a bull that better suits your beef system. You can also request genetic trend graphs and actual measurements (scrotal size is a perfect example of this). If online sales are the way forward this year, make sure you take the time to complete a structural soundness assessment when the bull arrives on farm. Feet, leg and shoulder structure, scrotal and sheath shape are all important. Remember that bulls contribute to 80% of your genetic gain. The better the bull, the bigger the buck. Happy buying. Relevant resources: Both available on the Beef + Lamb NZ website. Better Beef Breeding – Bull buying for the commercial beef breeder (Resource Book) and Buying bulls that perform (Podcast). • Anna Boyd is B+LNZ’s genetics operations specialist-beef.

HIGH PERFORMANCE HIGH PERFORMANCE CATTLE YARDS CATTLE YARDS where design meets reality where design meets reality

“we make farming ezy”

e make farming ezy” 140

0800 80 90 98

0800 80 90 98 Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

GENETICS | BEEF BREEDS Left: Angus bulls, just one breed among 1224 around the world.

Resilience in the face of Covid19 BY: GERTJE PETERSEN


eing cooped up inside and by myself, I am beginning to truly understand the importance of resilience. Before Covid-19, the ability to be only minimally affected by a change in environmental circumstances has really only featured in my life in the form of a sensitivity to low temperatures in the office. While I am sure my complaints about freezing fingers have annoyed some people over the years, being resilient has never seemed as important as it does now. Suddenly, being able to adapt to a changed work setup, having to work out in my lounge/office/dining room and never seeing actual people up close has taken on a whole new meaning. Another thing has changed. While discussing a new project with clients, one of them mentioned that ironically, this is probably a really good time to try and communicate animal health management aspects to beekeepers. They, much like other farmers, have always understood the impact that animal health has on their bottom line, but the importance of strict biosecurity and the value of disease incidence data

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May 2020

for understanding and managing disease events just becomes that much more palpable when you are sitting at your dining room table trying to get through the 15th video conferencing call of the day without your connection dropping out. Luckily, we all seem to understand that by suffering a bit in the shelter of our own home, we are taking substantial strain off our health system and hopefully avoiding the much more horrifying prospect of going through a bad course of Covid-19 ourselves. In livestock operations though, especially those managed with relatively little human contact time like sheep and beef, we do not have the immense advantage of being able to explain to individuals why they have to be prudent and stay away from each other. What we can do is observe good farming practice, maintain high hygienic standards, run preventative measures such as vaccinations and ensure that our genetics suit the environment with all its challenges. Resilience, while hard to define as a whole, can be broken down into aspects such as tolerance to climatic conditions (e.g: heat), disease resistance or resistance to nutritional stress. By isolating particular aspects, selection can be done on placeholder or proxy traits – the ability to maintain condition through

periods of food scarcity or low nutritional value in available forage. The selection of more consistently performing individuals might require us to take one step away from the sheer focus on production and evaluate performance in a more global context of efficient use of resources and lifetime productivity, but faced with both a changing climate and the looming possibility of a global animal disease event of the likes of Covid-19, this seems like a step we should be willing to make. Beef cattle to this day remain very diverse, despite the domination of particular breeds such as Angus. (The UN report on the state of livestock breeds from 2014 states there are 1224 extant = non-extinct breeds of cattle globally. Even assuming only a third of them are raised primarily for meat, that still leaves us with an impressive 408 breeds.) Being farmed in equally diverse environments, this existing genetic resource represents an enormous opportunity for the detection and commercial use of genetic variation that protects from economic damage caused by climatic stress and disease. Research into natural resistance to e.g. Brucella abortus in the United States or ticks in Australia shows that unfortunately, like so many economically important traits, disease-resistance traits tend to be underpinned by a complex network of genes working in concert. However, while this reduces the number of major mutations which, like the slick gene conferring higher heat tolerance, could be readily introduced into other breeds, it does not remove our ability select cattle, especially cows, on the basis of efficient and consistent performance. While international research projects like the European Union-funded GenTORE are striving to define the genetic basis of resilient and efficient cattle production, companies like the Hamilton-based Thermo Regulatory Genetics are already making heat tolerant dairy genetics accessible for New Zealand farmers, heralding the possibilities that hopefully, one day, will also be available for beef cattle breeders. • Gertje Petersen is a consultant with AbacusBio.



Global opportunities for NZ genetic improvement BY: DORIAN GARRICK


n any modern farm enterprise, increases in costs and administrative procedures necessitate increases in productivity to maintain profit. Different technology areas can assist such productivity gains. One area with scope for improvement is the biological systems. This is true of our pastures and forages, of our sheep, and of our beef cattle. Although there are many aspects of the environment and management that can make the biological systems better, the response of animals to better management is often limited by their genetic potential. Most farming enterprises have the option – provided they can discriminate – to buy improved seed, rams, and bulls. A small proportion of livestock enterprises make it their business to sell seedstock, and in order to remain competitive, they must effectively apply selection to annually lift the genetic potential of their rams or bulls that will sire the next generation of commercial animals. The annual lift in genetic potential that results from selection depends upon several factors. The most important are the intensity of selection, the age at which selected animals become parents, and the accuracy of the selection decisions. Ideally, a ram or bull breeder wants to

Dorian Garrick.

an analysis that includes at least tens of thousands of genotyped animals that have phenotypes for the traits of interest to the breeder. In order to choose a small proportion to retain to become parents means that there needs to be a big number of selection candidates. The early days of ram and bull breeding were mostly characterised by selection within-flock or within-herd. Selecting animals from other breeders was a risky practice, as there was little information to indicate whether the outside animals were likely to be better than the home-bred candidates.

ACROSS-HERD EVALUATION The situation improved with the shift to across-flock (SIL) or across-herd (Breedplan) evaluation. Provided link sires had been used in common across a number of farms, much more reliable selection decisions could be made in choosing animals bred

The trans-Tasman evaluation could also increase accuracy of evaluating parents if close ancestors had offspring on both sides of the Tasman. accurately select animals before puberty, choosing only a small proportion that represent the best of the selection candidates to become parents of the next generation. In a genomic evaluation, accuracy is achieved by participating in


outside one’s own flock or herd. In the New Zealand context, most beef cattle breeds soon migrated from a national across-herd evaluation to trans-Tasman evaluations. This would have allowed for more intense selection if a breeder was

prepared to use foreign bulls and cows. The trans-Tasman evaluation could also increase accuracy of evaluating parents if close ancestors had offspring on both sides of the Tasman. Trans-Tasman within-breed evaluations have remained the approach adopted by most NZ beef cattle breeds for the last 20-25 years. But breeders are now looking with some urgency at other opportunities. Several options are available. Some Australasian breed associations have already made a move, and others seem likely to follow soon. The options are: to join an evaluation including the same breed in another country or region, such as North America or Europe; to pool data from performancerecorded commercial animals that are not pedigree registered; or to join an acrossbreed evaluation. These options are not mutually exclusive, but some will be more appealing to particular beef cattle breeds than will others. There are three large-scale national beef-cattle evaluations in North America. The largest is run by International Genetic Solutions (IGS), which comprises a consortium of more than 14 breed associations from a number of countries, but mostly from the United States and Canada. IGS runs weekly single-step genomic evaluations using a pooled pedigree file approaching 20 million animals. Many of the animals in the evaluation are of admixed breed, including crossbred animals sired by purebred Angus bulls. The second largest evaluation is run by Angus Genetics Inc (AGI) and includes US and Canadian purebred black cattle. The third largest analysis is the PanAmerican Cattle Evaluation (PACE) which evaluates purebred Hereford and crossbred Hereford-sired animals from US, Canada, Uruguay, and Argentina. Collaborating in the mixed breed IGS evaluation instead of Breedplan would be an option for routine single-step genomic analysis for all Australasian breeds, except Hereford. Collaborating in the Hereford PACE instead of Breedplan would be an

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Right: In the New Zealand context, most beef cattle breeds soon migrated from a national across-herd evaluation to trans-Tasman evaluations.

option for NZ and/or Australian Hereford breeders. In Europe there is an across-country evaluation operated by the International Committee of Animal Recording (ICAR), and known as Interbeef. It began through a research partnership between Ireland and France, but has now grown to include other countries. It runs evaluations for Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Charolais, and Limousin breeds, and these evaluations include records from crossbred animals sired by bulls in any of those five breeds. Unlike the Interbull dairy cattle equivalent, Interbeef uses raw phenotypic records, not just the progeny test summaries. The system is designed to enhance but not replace a local national evaluation, and has had an initial focus on weaning weight and calving traits.

NZ DAIRY EVALUATION In NZ, there has been a recent major focus on upgrading the dairy industry evaluations run by NZ Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL), a subsidiary of DairyNZ. The NZ dairy evaluation uses a pedigree of some 30 million animals and represents a highly admixed dataset, including many mixed breed offspring of Holstein, Friesian, Jersey and Kiwi-cross bulls. In the past, weight records were limited to lactating cows, but in recent years the Dairy Industry Good Animal Database (DIGAD) has annually recorded liveweights on more than 250,000 animals under a year of age, and a slightly lesser number on yearling cattle. This is already about an order of magnitude larger than the number of NZ registered beef cattle performancerecorded for liveweight each year. Since 1990, Beef and Lamb reports that NZ has 30% fewer beef cows, but 9% more steers slaughtered per year, and harvests 22% more bull beef. Some 57% slaughters from sheep and beef farms are of dairy origin. Some breeds, such as Hereford and Wagyu, already have developed a close association with the dairy industry and have herds breeding for crossbred attributes. Plans are underway by both NZAEL and Beef + Lamb to increase the

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scope of routine evaluations to better represent the beef value proposition in the dairy industry. Aligning the data pipelines for pedigree, performance and genotype files with other kindred organisations in order to take part in a larger-scale across-country and/ or across-breed evaluations can increase selection intensity and can improve the accuracy of prediction which are the key determinants of the rate of genetic improvement. All these activities incur costs, and the costs need to be considerably less than the benefits to the nation in terms of improved productivity and efficiency that comes from using better bulls. A feature common to selection programmes in pasture, sheep and beef cattle, is that it is most cost-effective to keep the size of the pedigree and performance-recorded nucleus sector that drives the genetic improvement as small as possible relative to the size of the commercial sector that obtains the value from the more productive and efficient offspring.

NUCLEUS AND MULTIPLICATION Improving the cost-effectiveness of improvement schemes is typically achieved by separating the sire breeding sector into a nucleus, which drives genetic gain, and a multiplication tier, which serves to multiply and disseminate the improved germplasm generated in the nucleus. In the bull-breeding sector, most performance recording herds are multipliers, and only a few are nucleus herds driving genetic gain. Pedigree analysis can be applied to the breed association data to identify the sources of influential sires in each breed. If those sources mostly represent just a few breeders, those breeders are likely to represent the nucleus. In the NZ Angus pedigrees, it is apparent that many breeders are multiplying US germplasm. US sources are much more prevalent than Australian sources. This is

perhaps not surprising, given the much larger size of the North American Angus population, and the fact that marbling has been an important trait in North America for many years, but has only relatively recently been recognised as being important in Australasia. The collective dominance of North American sires is also apparent in Hereford and Simmental pedigrees in NZ. Accordingly, North America would be an obvious place to look for data sharing opportunities. These new opportunities to expand the nature and scope of cattle evaluation in NZ are a considerable focus of some bull breeders, but what does it mean for most sheep and beef farmers, who don’t breed bulls but buy them for use as terminal or maternal sires in their commercial cow herds? It shouldn’t make any difference to the fact that objective information will take the form of EBVs and corresponding accuracies, and that these values may be summarised in the form of index values of multiple trait merit. It might make a difference in that EBVs could come available on some new traits that have not been available from the Breedplan system. It might make a difference that the accuracy of EBVs are improved, and that selection intensities can be increased, and that will translate to faster rates of progress for those breeders using objective information to select the best animals as parents of the next generation.  • Dorian Garrick is chief scientist at the AL Rae Centre of Genetics and Breeding at Massey University, a Director of Performance Beef Breeders (PBB), on the Scientific Advisory Committee of Interbeef, and a founding partner of ThetaSolutions LLC, whose software has been used under license in beef cattle and dairy cattle genomic analyses including those of ABRI, PBB, IGS, PACE and NZAEL.



with pigs and dairy cattle in the United Kingdom at the Institute of Grasslands and Environmental Research, Hurley; University of Reading, and in the United States, before moving into the realm of science policy. CMcC – Please outline the focus of your current work? DWC – My job at FAS focuses on scientific and regulatory developments associated with agricultural biotechnologies, including genome editing, and on the potential impact of these technologies on US agricultural innovation, trade, and policy. I work with officials in other countries to encourage informed and rational responses to new agricultural biotechnologies and to promote science-based and riskproportionate standards and regulatory approaches globally.

Potential to reshape agriculture Genome editing has the potential to reshape agriculture for a better future, Chris McCullough writes.


ention genome editing out loud and many involved in the agricultural industry will twitch in fear while others can foresee the precise benefits it can bring. With climate change, increasing animal diseases and a more demanding consumer wanting fewer antibiotics used, future agricultural production will need to change, but is genome editing part of the solution?


In a bid to assess how mind-set is changing Chris McCullough spoke exclusively with Diane Wray-Cahen, Senior Science Advisor for agricultural biotechnologies at the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Diane has been a science advisor with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service since 2010. She received a BS and PhD in animal science from Cornell University and afterwards spent over 16 years conducting agricultural and biomedical research

CMcC – What do you feel are the real benefits of gene editing in plants/livestock and why? DWC – While genome editing is certainly not a silver bullet for solving all agricultural challenges, in my opinion, it is the most promising and innovative technology for agricultural breeding that I have seen during the last 30 years. It has the potential to reshape how we use agricultural biotechnologies as part of conventional breeding programmes, combining it with the information gained from crop and livestock genome sequencing. Because certain tools of genome editing, such as CRISPR Cas9, can be used in various species and cost less than other technologies, researchers all over the world are using genome editing technologies to develop solutions to agricultural problems, be it in Brazil, Australia, Kenya, or India. An additional advantage of genome editing is that it also has the potential to introduce characteristics that farmers need, while helping increase and protect genetic diversity in livestock and crops. For example, a rare cattle breed could be made more tolerant to changing climate conditions or emerging diseases, without losing the other characteristics of the breed. One huge benefit for both the plant and animal agricultural industries is that

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genome editing can be used to reduce the time it takes to create new varieties of plants and to introduce new traits into livestock, as well as to introduce some traits that may not be available in the breeding pool, such as pest or disease resistance. This is true for all agricultural breeding, but the impact is even greater with plants and animals with long generation times, such as cattle or trees, where it can take decades of breeding and back crossing to introduce some traits. CMcC – Do you think there is a need for gene editing in the agricultural industry today? DWC – Innovations are constantly needed for agriculture in order to keep ahead of new challenges. Genome editing is one of these and yes, it is one of the tools that our farmers and plant and animal breeders will need to meet current and emerging challenges of changing climate conditions and the constantly evolving disease and pest pressures. CMcC – Is the market ready for gene editing? Globally or in some specific countries? DWC – One of the largest market barriers for agricultural products of genome editing is the regulatory approach that some countries, such as those in the European Union, may take and the current uncertainty for the regulatory landscape globally. Some countries in Latin America are taking an approach that, if other countries adopt, has the potential to really change the landscape for agricultural applications of genome editing and allow these techniques to be used as a breeding tool that could be accessible to all countries, allowing locally produced solutions to regional agricultural challenges to reach farmers and consumers. In an ideal world, publicly funded, low-risk research solutions using genome editing could reach farmers without an expensive and lengthy regulatory process. Breeders in Kenya and India, for example, would then be able to edit crops and livestock adapted to their region to address the problems that their farmers face. We face serious agricultural challenges for which genome editing could help

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provide viable solutions. For example, citrus greening is seriously damaging the citrus industry in Florida, Avian Influenza remains a concern, and now the world faces the threat of African Swine Fever, which has killed millions of pigs globally, especially in Asia, and poses threats to the European swine industry. We do not want to be in a situation where potential low risk solutions exist, but farmers in the UK, US, and elsewhere are unable to use them. CMcC – Do you think the consumer is ready for genome editing? DWC – There is no one type of consumer; consumers have a variety of reasons for making the purchasing decisions that they do. Some consumers are looking for food production using less antibiotics or pesticides. Some are looking for ways to support small farmers. Some are concerned about climate challenges that farmers face. Some are looking for products with healthier nutritional profiles. Genome editing has the potential to help provide some of these choices and expand options for consumers and farmers. CMcC – What resistance have you come across when discussing genome editing in plants or livestock? DWC – Many people who I have spoken with are supportive of what agricultural applications of genome editing can do and the promise that they hold. That does not mean that I have not heard concerns. What these concerns are varies with the individual and their background and their beliefs. In many cases, it is not the tool itself, but how it is used that is important. Consumer acceptance or resistance may depend upon what products the technologies are used to create, as well as who uses the tool. Some resistance is focused on the perception of ‘unkept promises’. Some ask where are the solutions that were promised with genetic engineering? For example, the products with traits focused on consumer desires or on helping poorer farmers in the world. These have not materialised as hoped, but the irony is that the regulatory processes put in place for genetically engineered products have contributed to this. These processes are expensive and only

Diane Wray-Cahen.

those products with the potential for a high rate of cost return are introduced. Therefore, two traits, insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, in a small number of crops have dominated the market. Some are also concerned with the agricultural sector being ‘owned’ by a few large corporations. Again, in general, only those companies with deep pockets have been able to afford navigating the regulatory processes for genetically engineered products. There are exceptions, such as the USDA-Cornell UniversityUniversity of Hawaii-developed Rainbow Papaya, but they have been few and far between. Regulatory processes that are not proportionate to risk have been effective at keeping many products of genetic engineering off the market. One thing that is perhaps surprising, and frustrating, is that stricter regulations are often requested in response to concerns or resistance to technologies, although the primary concerns have nothing to do with what our regulatory systems are assessing for food or environmental safety. Putting in place stricter, non-riskproportionate regulations exacerbate the situation, making it more likely that only big companies can navigate the system. Data from Argentina and USDA suggests that risk-proportionate regulatory approaches for products of genome editing may change this and allow small companies and public institutions to bring a more diverse selection of agricultural products to market. The hope is that our current and future farmers have more options, not fewer.



Better genetics can bring big rewards BY: DR KEN GEENTY


nsuring good genetic progress in your beef cattle is one of the easiest and most cost-effective steps you can take. For some homework visiting websites and talking to rural professionals, bull breeders and farming mates, very significant and growing rewards will come. Spending two or three days a year on these tasks, with appropriate investment in the right bulls, will provide annual benefits of up to 9% in line with the breeder’s genetic trends. Importantly genetic gains, unlike management, are cumulative so can grow with each generation. Importantly the payoff from genetic improvement is heavily dependent on dayto-day feeding, management and animal health all being up to scratch. The basis of genetic improvement is estimated breeding values (EBVs) for productive traits. EBVs are derived from a stack of information on heritability, the extent the trait is passed on to offspring, difference from the group average for that animal, adjustment for effects on other important traits and information on relatives. The more of the latter the greater the reliability of EBVs. The important component of heritability varies in strength widely among production traits. The top bracket in New

Zealand beef breeds with medium to high levels include – birthweight, calving ease, liveweight at 200, 400 and 600 days, mature cow weight, carcaseweight and fatness, dressing percent and yield. Lower-ranking traits more influenced by management and environment are generally those associated with reproduction. Individual trait EBVs are rarely used on their own but are normally combined in a ready-to-use or customised index. Included are the most influential traits for that index weighted for their relative economic values. The bottom line is that breeding values work so you can afford to invest time in choosing the EBVs, or using an index, for your bull team. For example, the Angus Self Replacing

Index (SRI) estimates differences in net profitability per cow joined for a selfreplacing commercial herd finishing steers around 525kg liveweight at 16 months. For the 2020 sale year the Angus SRI average is +114. An Angus bull with a Group Breedplan SRI of +214 will mean he will contribute $100 more value to his progeny compared to an average 2018born bull. Remembering only half the genes come from the bull translating to a $50 advantage to offspring adding up to an additional $5000 for 25 calves over each of four seasons. While this example is for an Angus herd the same process can be applied for any breed recorded on Group Breedplan. Graph 1 shows dated but useful SRI genetic trends from Group Breedplan in real live herds compared with the breed

Graph 1: Self Replacing Index

Genetic trend in four separate herds in comparison with the breed average From: B+LNZ publication - A Guide to New Zealand Cattle Farming

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Graph 3: Self Replacing Index - EBV Weightings

Graph 2: Self Replacing Index - Profit Drivers

Economic weightings for key traits in Angus Self Replacing Index From: B+LNZ publication - A Guide to New Zealand Cattle Farming

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Economic weightings for key traits in Angus Self Replacing Index From: B+LNZ publication - A Guide to New Zealand Cattle Farming

average. Clearly herd B would be best for a bull buyer averaging 9 percent genetic gain a year. Even an individual bull below the herd B average would be a good choice. Emphasising the importance of selecting the best breeder for your objectives. Signposts for various indexes by Australian based Group Breedplan, and offered by different breed societies or customised individually using BreedObject, can be found at http:// These can cater for overall productivity, dairy beef crossing or inclusion of specialized carcase traits like marbling. Graph 2 shows the key economic traits that are important in the Angus SRI. The different trait emphases reflect the underlying profit drivers in a typical selfreplacing commercial operation Considering the genetic relationship between the key profit drivers and the EBVs that are available, this transposes to the following EBV emphases. The sign indicates the direction of each emphasis. For example, greater 400 Day Weight EBVs and shorter Days to Calving EBVs are favoured. There is some negative pressure on mature cow weight. See Graph 3. It is argued by many that NZ beef breeding cows have become too heavy and inefficient. Waikato-based AgFirst consultant Bob Thomson says commercial beef breeding cows should weigh around 530kg and wean calves at 200 days weighing 240kg. Currently cows over 600kg inefficiently wean calves around 240kg. The all-important job of getting out

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and purchasing bulls for your situation is well outlined by B+LNZ Genetics on their website under the heading ‘Better beef breeding – bull selection tools’. The five steps listed to find the best bull for your particular operation include – 1. setting your objective; 2. finding a breeder with similar objectives; 3. choosing a bull with the right index to do the job; 4. checking him for structural soundness; 5. settling the bull in at home. Remembering the key mantra ‘where your breeder goes, you will go’. Emphasising the importance of choosing the right breeder for your situation preferably based on the breeder’s genetic trends available, with the breeder’s permission, from Group Breedplan. You will follow a similar trend in genetic improvement but lag up to two generations behind. Individual breeders or breed societies can customize their selection index by altering trait weightings using BreedObject to counter this. For example the negative weighting on mature cow weight in the example above could be increased. Use of the Australian Group BreedPlan system has worked well for NZ beef producers for many years. However, the scheme is used at full cost recovery unlike the producer subsidised New Zealand sheep genetic improvement scheme SIL, currently run by B+LNZ Genetics but soon to become nProve. A shortcoming of Group BreedPlan is an absence of between breed comparisons but the new nProve scheme should supply this if beef cattle are included.

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Creating a healthy, happy union Whatever farming system your running, whether it be high input or low, be good at it. That is the advice of Alec Jack, owner operator of Ngawhitu, his family’s beef and dairy farm in Northland. Annabelle Latz reports.


lec Jack’s goal is maintaining a viable and healthy enterprise to hand down to future generations. “I will consider myself successful as a farmer when I have created a happy union of financially viable farming and healthy bio-diversity.” The 2009 Nuffield scholar studied animal welfare, environmental and ethical issues affecting the value of New Zealand pastoral products. He now looks at farming issues through the “what would our consumers and voters make of this” lens.


Alec says he is continuously striving to farm with a low environmental footprint, be kind to his animals and staff, and practice in a manner his community will be happy with. Ngawhitu is 20 minutes from Kaikohe and 20 minutes from Kerikeri. He and his wife Kelly, who have four children, farm 660 hectares which includes a 260ha dairy farm, and an adjoining 400ha beef farm of which 60-80ha can be utilised by the dairy herds in summer. “That’s a key point, that we can expand the dairy platform on to the beef platform.” The 1620 stock at March 2020 were:

dairy – 516 cows, 140 R2 heifers, and 146 R1 replacements from three weeks of AI. Beef – 28 R3, 128 R2 ,and 107 R1 beef heifers, 280 R2 and 255 R1 bulls, and 20 breed bulls. The farming operation is based on the 550 KiwiCross dairy cows milked once a day through a 30-aside herringbone shed equipped with cup removers. All calves born are kept, reared, then raised to adulthood on the beef farm. Apart from 6-10 yearling beef breed bulls bought each year, no additional livestock are brought into the system. Ngawhitu is also the name of his company which Alec hopes will stay in the

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KEY POINTS: • Integrated dairy and beef system • A 240ha dairy unit and 400ha beef farm • Bulls killed 2019 av 308kg CW and $2020 • Focus on animal welfare, environment and staff • Soil dictates the stocking rate STOCK: Dairy: 516 cows, 140 R2 heifers, and 146 R1 replacements. Beef: 28 R3, 128 R2, and 107 R1 beef heifers, 280 R2 and 255 R1 bulls.

Left: Alec Jack and his family have an integrated dairy and beef farm in Northland. Below: A gully fenced off among the beef cells, with young pines and weaving varieties of flax.

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family for many generations. The farm has been farmed by the Jack family since 1949. First, by Alec’s grandfather Tod, then by his father Ned who, now 86, was 16 when the family arrived from Auckland and the Waikato to farm at Pakaraka. Ned was also the founder of the Kaikohe Christian School which he poured a lot of time and money into during the 1980s and 1990s. Ned and his wife Amber still live on the farm. When Alec returned home from his travels in 1992, he began transitioning the farm into a bull finishing system. He introduced electric fencing and timber pine lines to protect the eight-wire fences, then began rearing and buying bulls. In 2011, 95ha of rocky lava-flow soils on the southern slopes of Mt Pouerua was added to their home base of 560ha. The following year, the 225ha neighbouring dairy farm was bought. The farm also contains 160ha under restriction with Historic Places Trust, due to a very visible pa site, an ‘outstanding natural feature’. Getting help from the experts from the

beginning has been a major factor. He was involved in Dairy NZ early and a NZ Beef + Lamb monitor farm from 2007 to 2009. Alec enjoys learning, but not all ideas work out, like adding value to culled dairy cows by fattening them before sending them to the works. “In reality, if it’s a good summer you want those cows to keep producing milk, and if it’s a bad summer you don’t want them on the farm.” Thanks to encouragement from those already in the game, especially brother-inlaw Ken Couper, Alec was confident to start on once-a-day milking straight away. There was a continual focus on milk production, udder health, and mitigating metabolic issues. “It’s really a step up on a dairy farm, and there’s a satisfaction in producing something from dot.” The dairy cows are effectively the farm’s beef breeding cows. Once-a-day milking has always suited because it keeps condition on their backs, “a bit like having supplementary feed that you don’t have to feed out.”

›› Avoiding the boom-bust cycle p150


Avoiding the boom-bust cycle The initial attraction of the dairy farm for Alec was to be able to control the genetics, quality and health of replacement stock for the beef farm. “When we were traders, the beef schedule would go up and you’d get a windfall gain, but then you’d have to replace at high prices too. “It was a boom-bust cycle.” Alec says the 50:50 Friesian Jersey KiwiCross cow is a very productive dairy breed. Through their own artificial breeding programme, he has focused on building a dairy herd that is 60% Friesian 40% Jersey, to increase the cow frame size, enabling them to produce a better beef calf. The mating season lasts for nine weeks, from October through to December. Farming in Northland means seasons can be shifted slightly, so the Jack family have moved calving to mid-July. This means less chaos

during the first week of the July school holidays before rearing up to 550 calves. The best 400 cows (yard capacity) are selected for artificial insemination for the first three weeks of mating season, while the rest of the herd run with the 20 to 25 breeding bulls, whom they get a couple of seasons out of. Both herds run with the breed bulls for the remaining six weeks of mating. “To keep things simple during our busy spring calving, we are transitioning from Angus breed bulls to Herefords, simply because the white face over a KiwiCross cow is easier to identify as a newborn calf.” All non-dairy replacement calves born on the farm are reared, raised and finished on the beef farm at about 2.5 years of age. A 10-bay calf shed ensures new-born calves get plenty of gold colostrum, then calves are fed two litres of colostrum twice a day for a couple of days, then 4L/day until weaning.


(4 of these used as yearlings)


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May 2020

‘I will consider myself successful as a farmer when I have created a happy union of financially viable farming and healthy bio-diversity.’ As the calf shed fills, the oldest calves are transferred outside into 0.8ha farmlets where they have adlib access to meal under their north-facing shelters with post-peeling bedding. The farmlets are based around feeding zones where the mobile milkbar can feed four mobs of 4045 calves without having to be moved. The expanded business has also required an increase in manpower. Alec employs one manager for each of the dairy and beef enterprise, Sam Rapana and Larissa Graham, and an assistant for the dairy farm, Philip Kopa. He’s looking to employ another worker in the beef enterprise and brings in a calf-rearer from mid-July for three months. “The integration has forced a step up in my pasture management, and my staff management.” The 30-aside shed with automatic cup removers makes life easier. “It just means one person can milk the

whole herd if need be.” It also means cows are milked to a standard, and there is no risk of overmilking which can cause teat end damage and consequential mastitis risk. During peak milking season they’re milking 550 cows, and they winter up to 600. December is a month for massively de-stocking due to reduced quality feed production and increased demand from 550 new weaners. Prices are usually also good in December when they sell most bulls, beef heifers and reject dairy heifers at two and half years of age to Silver Fern Farms. The 211 bulls killed in November and December averaged 308kg carcaseweight and $2020, the best prices they have ever received. Alec says they’re trying to cap numbers to create an equilibrium. They want just enough dairy cows to produce all the beef and dairy replacements needed. The closed

system also means they are decreasing the biosecurity risk. The aim is 550 calves, yearlings, and dairy cows. “Each year we have an annual crop.” In addition to this, in December they sold 70 bull calves and 60 beef heifer calves off nurse cows and once-bred beef heifers; (in-calf at 15 months old, they rear one calf, are sold as a store or fattened cow). “Because of the drought we sold them all.’ Bulls are in mobs of 50-60 R1s which are split into 25-30 yearlings for finishing. Most systems contain about 30 cells, 0.3ha in size. By mid-April or May they like to be at 60-day rotations, dropping to 25 days in October. Summer rotation lengths vary with the weather. Bulls are stocked at 600700kg of live weight/ha for R1 stock on pugging prone land, through to 1200 LW/ ha for R2 bulls on well-subdivided country. An oxfendazole levamisole combination oral drench is used on young stock, and abamectin pour on is used on stock over one year old.

›› Soils dictate stocking rates p152


WAIWHERO ANGUS SALE DATE Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 12 noon, Waipukurau CHARLES PATTISON

06 858 8863 Country-Wide Beef

May 2020 151

Above: Alec Jack on his farm at the “Madonna Gate” with Pouerua in the background. Alec says its name is due to the resemblance to Madonna’s cone bra.


Soils dictate stocking rates A significant area of the dairy platform has Wharekohe ‘pipe clay’ soils, which translate to a pan layer of imperfectly drained soil with very hard soil underneath, resulting in soil that is unable to provide as much feed, or a high stocking rate. “Soil dictates how much feed you can grow, therefore indicating what your stocking rate should be.” Due to paddock history and soil type, there is a wide variation in soil fertility. The potassic super fertiliser programme varies from year to year based on soil tests every spring but Alec aims to bring pH and all nutrients into the recommended range. A late autumn boost from nitrogen is used when pasture covers are low coming out of drought. He works closely with Matt Rudsdale from Ravensdown. Dry spells are always the main threat for the Jack family from November to May, but this summer has been the worst Alec has seen in terms of drought. With such low rainfall last year, the ground water has never been replenished. Luckily, they have good stock water, but the house bore water level is becoming a concern. As the drought worsened through December and

January they readily accepted lower carcaseweights to reduce stocking pressure as the feed slowed up. “But by fluke, it turned out the beef prices were the best then too.” The subtropical C4 grass species, the kikuyu and paspalum, still produce leaf during the dry conditions, but the rye grass pastures cease to function with high night temperatures. Smart planting choices is always Alec’s focus, both to maximise feed opportunities, and look after the soils and environment. The autumn mulching programme works well; broadcasting Italian rye grass on to kikuyu grass pastures which they graze out with cows, then run a mulcher over the area which knocks out the kikuyu dominance to create a seed bed for the new seedling. No chemicals are used during this process; their rate of ryegrass spread is 20-25kg of seed/ha, followed up with nitrogen once the weather has cooled and the subtropical grasses are no longer responsive to the nitrogen. “By June and July there is high quality Italian ryegrass which grows through winter and spring, then the other grasses carry on.” Break-feeding 18ha of Barkant turnips to the dairy cows in January and February works well,

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May 2020

and in a good year they produce pit pasture silage in the spring. Alec is looking into the potential of growing lucerne, a summer safe quality feed for milking cows and good feed for growing replacement dairy heifers. A plantain clover mix is grown on the 18ha dairy effluent area. They hope the plantain will utilise the nitrogen so it doesn’t leach into the waterways. “We have quite a lot of native bush, and if I did have the opportunity, I’d like for us to get a better shot at the greenhouse gas sequestration side of things. “To put forward a really strong case for net biological emissions.” He says regulators are only just coming around now to more realistic emission targets. In the future, rural tourism is on the radar, to be profitable and meet his need for social interaction. Covid-19 has put those ambitions on hold. Alec has set up a Facebook community group ‘Jack Family Farm,’ available to his neighbours, family members and friends, as a platform to share information. It allows him to keep those around him up to date with what he’s doing, from the days he’s spraying, to sharing news about interesting on-farm projects. He says it is vital to support, publicly or privately, agricultural champions who stand up for science and logic, or who simply share their stories with their friends and family on social media.

›› Soaking up the knowledge p153

Alec with his father Ned in 2006.


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Beef manager Larissa Graham says there’s no place she’d rather be than on the farm.


MAY 27th 2020 at 1.00pm

For electronic sale catalogue and pictures go to:

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May 2020

Soaking up the knowledge


arissa Graham can’t think of anywhere else in the world she would rather be. Her role as beef farm manager at Ngawhitu is her dream job. Raised on a dairy farm in Okaihau, Northland, Larissa had previously spent a number of years working in Australia in the thoroughbred industry. Ngawhitu was new territory for her. “I’ve always looked for a challenge, liked to try something new.” She had previous experience in the dairy industry also, a “stepping stone” after her now five-year-old daughter Mackenzie was born. Larissa says she is grateful to Alec for taking her on, as her experience with cows was limited. “I’ve put my horse knowledge into cows and that has worked...” To build her knowledge base Larissa works closely with Alec and asks plenty of questions.

‘This place is very family orientated and one of the best life experiences she will ever get. It’s a great grounding to have, you learn so much growing up on a farm.’ The love of her job is two-fold. The beef industry itself, and her work environment which lends brilliantly to raising her daughter who has her own pony and plenty of space to run around. “This place is very family orientated and one of the best life experiences she will ever get. It’s a great grounding to have, you learn so much growing up on a farm.” She and Alec regularly attend field days and discussion groups which offer platforms to chat to other beef farmers. There are some older farmers who look at her and ask how she handles the bulls. “The same way you do,” is her standard response.” Larissa works 12 days on, two days off. Work may range from fencing to working

on pasture improvements. Recently she has taken on a manager role with the beef. At specific times of the year it’s calf rearing and overseeing the calf-rearer. Larissa is enjoying the management challenge, being able to teach people what she knows. Agriculture students from Taratahi Polytechnic in Northland have spent time under her guidance on the farm. “I’ve been blessed throughout my life to have people above me who have taken the time to teach me.” Larrisa’s long-term goal is to have her own farm. Ngawhitu is the best place to learn about farming and eventually achieve that. “I’m not a sit down and read text books kind of girl.”

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Above: If molybdenum is deficient, the clover won’t be fixing nitrogen to its full potential.

Autumn pasture to set up spring BY: ANDREW SWALLOW


amper pasture in autumn to set up a successful spring because that is the key period that drives profit on most sheep and beef farms, a long-time AgResearch pastoral scientist, now working independently, stressed at a recent Beef + Lamb NZ field day. However, while it was easy for him to say, it is not so easily done, particularly after a drought, Tom Fraser admitted to visitors to Tamar Farms, Mid Canterbury, just before the Covid-19 lockdowns kicked in. “We’ve been sold the lucerne story, that you have to let it flower once per year,” he said. “Really what you are doing is giving it a spell so that it can rebuild its reserves and grass is no different. It needs a spell from time to time.”


That’s particularly the case following drought when the temptation is to put stock back on to browned-off paddocks as soon as they turn green. However, that’s a recipe for disaster, he warned. “A lot of that initial growth is from reserves and if you take it off, particularly with sheep that will graze it to ground level, it has to grow from reserves again. Do that two or three times and the plants say ‘bugger that’ and die!” What’s more, the new growth could well be laden with parasite larvae so stock going on to it will quickly face a severe challenge. Much better to hold stock back for a few weeks on a sacrifice area, if necessary on bought-in feed, so that your best paddocks have a few weeks to recover before they’re grazed. “I know that’s bloody hard to do and very easy for me to say, but what you need to do is go around and score your paddocks one to four. Keep the

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May 2020

KEY POINTS: • Autumn pasture pointers • Score paddocks and nurture best for spring. • N fert helps restore covers if soil >8C. • Keep off for three weeks when droughts break. • Earmark best paddocks for lambing twinning ewes.

better ones back for the last graze, or even don’t graze them at all. These are the paddocks you want to treat with kid gloves because they’re the engine room for the spring on a sheep and beef farm.” If it’s still warm enough for growth, a little nitrogen fertiliser in autumn can help rebuild the covers, he added. “But remember, nitrogen fertiliser should go under your feed budget, not your fertiliser budget, because it’s a feed multiplier. That’s all it is.” Speaking to Country-Wide after the field day Fraser said as a guide, soil temperatures need to still be 8C or above to get a worthwhile nitrogen response. He also acknowledged the point made by field day hosts Richard and Chrissy Wright that nitrogen seems to provide the pasture with some frost protection. “Farmers often say that and no-one can refute it.” Ideally, pasture cover should be 1500 to 1600kg drymatter (DM)/ha going into winter, though many farms would have to make do with 1000-1200kg DM/ha this year. That could get to 1500-1600 by spring if grazing could be avoided, and that should be the aim at least for the blocks that will be allocated to twinlambing ewes. Being able to do that is a key benefit of growing winter crops, he added. “I know there’s been a lot of controversy about them but actually I still don’t think we grow enough of them in our sheep and beef systems… Winter crops allow you to go into spring with better grass cover.” In turn that means better lactation from ewes, more lambs away at weaning, and, prices being equal year to year, more profit.

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May 2020

Pastoral scientist Tom Fraser says just because molybdenum is cheap, it shouldn’t be applied without testing to determine need.

Molybdenum, the forgotten fertiliser? Clover not thriving how it should in your pasture? It’s possibly molybdenum deficient. “In the 1960s through to the 1980s a lot of molybdenum was used but since then it’s been rather forgotten about,” Tom Fraser, told the field day (see main story). “If you haven’t used any in the past 10 years then you probably need to get a herbage test done.” Blended into a fertiliser application it’s “dirt cheap” to apply, at about $6/ha, and it only needs doing once every four or five years. However, Fraser warned that just because it’s cheap, it shouldn’t be applied “just in case” without testing to determine need. “Don’t be silly with it, because it will lock-up copper if you use too much of it. Get some expert advice on what to do if the pasture tests do come back deficient.” Herbage tests should be from clover only because that’s the pasture species the molybdenum directly benefits, boosting

nitrogen fixation by rhizobia in the clover’s root nodules. “If molybdenum is deficient, the clover won’t be fixing nitrogen to its full potential.” Ballance AgriNutrients’ Jim Risk recently reviewed the need for molybdenum in the co-operative’s Grow publication, drawing on research from the 1950s, 60s, 80s and 90s. Given the risk of inducing copper deficiency in livestock, he told CountryWide he recommends taking three or four clover herbage samples from across the farm when the clover is growing well: ie when soil is warm and not too wet or dry, to determine if the plant is short of the nutrient. “Beware of historic differences in management. If you were just concerned with animal health then you would look at the mixed pasture analysis of molybdenum and copper.” AgKnowledge’s Doug Edmeades says his


Mugging up on Mo Factsheets on trace element nutrition of sheep and cattle on BLNZ’s knowledge hub ( knowledge-hub and search “trace elements”) touch on molybdenum’s influence on copper absorption, the sheep factsheet going into most detail, stressing pasture analyses must include Mo as well as copper. Pasture with copper concentration <4mg/kg DM is associated with simple copper deficiency. Pasture with 5-6 mg Cu/kg DM is adequate if molybdenum is low (<1mg/kg DM) but if molybdenum content is >3mg Mo/kg DM pasture copper concentration of 5-6 mg/kg DM will not maintain an adequate copper status.

Above: Tom Fraser, in beanie, with Richard Wright at the Tamar Farms Beef + Lamb field day.

‘A lot of that initial growth is from reserves and if you take it off, particularly with sheep that will graze it to ground level, it has to grow from reserves again. Do that two or three times and the plants say ‘bugger that’ and die!’

business is also finding renewed incidence of molybdenum deficiency, particularly in the South Island. “If you notice a lack of clover in your paddocks it’s most likely one of three reasons. Most frequently it’s lack of potassium, followed by lack of sulphur, and then molybdenum.” Jeff Morton from MortonAg, who with John Morrison researched pasture requirement and response to molybdenum in the 1990s, says nitrogen content of the clover also needs to be checked. “If it was low in nitrogen and molybdenum, then we measured a response to applying molybdenum but if the clover contained adequate nitrogen then we did not measure one, even if the [molybdenum] analysis came back low.” Another point to be aware of is that

Molybdenum reminders • Essential for N-fixation by legumes. • Potentially big responses where deficient. • Too much may induce copper deficiency in ruminants. • Herbage test clover to check need. • A little (20g Mo/ha) lasts a long time (4-5 years).


on many soils molybdenum increases with soil pH, so liming may also correct a herbage deficiency. Where both molybdenum and nitrogen are deficient in clover, that’s below 0.1 ppm and 4.5% respectively, Ballance recommends 2kg/ha of its 1% molybdenum product Nutrimax every four or five years, applied in a blend with a regular maintenance fertiliser. “Sometimes the full pasture production response takes a number of years to come through because if the clover is really struggling it will take a year for it to start to flourish and only then does the extra nitrogen fixed start to cycle in the pasture and you see the ryegrass and other species respond too,” notes Risk. However, the response in clover vigour is usually pretty immediate, notes Morton, who adds that he’d push that threshold for a molybdenum application up to 0.3ppm as test levels can vary over time and the risk of complications with copper only start when mixed pasture sample results for molybdenum are well over 1.0ppm. In his research with Morrison in the 1990s total pasture responses of nearly 3.5t DM/ha were recorded in the second year after application on one deficient site in inland Otago. Total pasture responses were more modest at other deficient sites, but all were statistically significant, as were increases in clover production.

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020


TOP TIP Tips for winter grazing on crops

Strategic grazing can reduce phosphorus and sediment losses by 80-90%.

Setting up to minimise impact BY: SANDRA TAYLOR


s farmers begin to transition livestock on to winter feed crops, they are being encouraged to consider the environmental impacts of their wintering systems. Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s general manager North Island Matt Ward says setting up feed paddocks in a way that protects soil, nutrient and water resources is good for business, animal welfare and the environment. Making long and narrow breaks, placing supplementary feed in or near a dry part of the paddock where animals can go to sit down and cud, having portable troughs close to the crop face and fencing across the slope are all practical, low-cost management strategies farmers can adopt to help protect their resources. Before animals begin grazing the crop, all waterways and Critical Source Areas

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May 2020

(parts of the paddock that can channel overland flow directly to waterways) should be identified and animals excluded from them. Matt says while the weather can be settled in early May, it can be hard to imagine what the paddock will be like after days of rain in mid-June, but farmers should have contingency plans – such as feedpads or run-off paddocks – that can be used in extreme weather. Back-fencing is also a useful tool to prevent pugging and reduce the risk of run-off. Grazing trials undertaken by AgResearch in South Otago (as part of the Pastoral21 programme) found strategic grazing could reduce phosphorus and sediment losses by 80-90%. This could save farmers $50-$60/ ha/year. Calculated over many farms within a catchment, this represents a significant reduction in catchment load and an increase in farm profitability and resilience.

• Exclude stock from waterways and create an ungrazed buffer zone between livestock and the waterway. • Leave an ungrazed buffer zone around Critical Source Areas (parts of the paddock that can channel overland flow directly to waterways). • Graze paddocks strategically – on a sloping paddock, fence across the slope and start grazing at the top of the paddock, so the standing crop acts as a filter and helps catch any sediment and nutrients. • Make breaks “long and narrow”. • Regularly back-fence to minimise pugging damage and runoff risk. • Place supplementary feed in or near a dry part of the paddock where animals can go to sit down and cud and place portable troughs close to the crop face. • Provide adequate feed, shelter and clean, fresh drinking water for your stock. • When the soil is not so wet, graze the buffer strips around Critical Source Areas quickly and lightly. • Consider planting a catch crop, such as green-feed oats, to reducing nitrogen losses. • When choosing paddocks for next year’s winter feed crop, think about how you can improve your management of CSAs and waterways.



Encouraging healthy soils


ertco was founded in 1999 by a group of farmers looking to apply different principles to the way fertiliser was recommended, and what products were applied to farms. These farmers wanted better advice, and fertiliser products that encouraged healthy soils; supporting high producing clover dense pastures. They believed Dicalcic Phosphate was the best form of essential nutrient because of its efficiency in providing plants phosphate, its kindness on the soil, and its environmental friendliness. Farmers saw benefits from the use of Dicalcic Phosphate including use of less nitrogen fertilisers and healthier animals. Both reducing costs and regularly putting them in the top brackets for profitability. The overarching principle was sustainability, both of farm finances and the environment. It was therefore natural that organic fertiliser


supply became something Fertco began doing 12 years ago and strives to do very well. Organic dairy and dry-stock farmers need to be the very best managers of clover growth, as their main source of nitrogen (N) is from the atmosphere; fixed by rhizobia bacteria in clover root nodules. As their economic options for nitrogen products are limited, the importance of high performing clover rich pastures is at the top of their list. Fertco’s CloverZone® programme was developed in conjunction with Dr. Doug Edmeades and Graham Shepherd to accurately define limitations to clover growth. Fertco’s CloverZone® programme is a comprehensive soil and herbage testing program coupled with Graham Shepperd’s visual soil assessment (VSA). Fertco national sales manager Arthur Payze says: ‘To grow high-yielding quality clover, soils need to be in optimal condition, from the nutrient levels, to its physical and biological health. New Zealand’s natural advantage over the rest of world animal production is our ability to grow clover. We forgot that in the 1980s when urea became available.’ Fertco has long believed that we are a little too dependent on urea and that we should again focus on healthy pastures containing as much clover as possible. Country-Wide Beef

May 2020


Arthur Payze on a day off proving that fish meal is good berly as well as fertiliser.

White clover is an plant and the soil; stimulating root development and improving the inexpensive, high quality feed activity of soil microflora, nutrient absorption and soil fertility. source that provides a valuable Protamin will be an alternative to products like fish meal and blood source of nitrogen in pastures. and bone. ‘Fertco use a lot of fish meal in our Horticultural products, Fertco is committed to helping but its cost can be prohibitive in Agriculture’, says Arthur, ‘and of farmers achieve the optimum course commercial growers and farmers have not been allowed to clover growth on their farms use blood and bone for 20 years or more now; Protamin re-writes the and take back the advantage. rules.’ This is of great importance There are two Protamin products in the Fertco range, Protamin GR for those Organically farming containing 13% Nitrogen and Protamin 7,2,11 containing 7% Nitrogen as most sources of Nitrogen 2% Phosphate and 11% Potassium, both are in granular form for Fertiliser are not permitted under Bio Gro certification. ‘Organically ease of blending and spreading. certified farmers need not accept below par farm performance, Recently Fertco held an organic workshop in Katikati which was Fertco have a comprehensive range of certified nutrient and very well supported with 140 attendees. The focus and subject matter biological products that enable soils to be in tip top condition. The were mostly on Kiwifruit and Avocado growers but a number of Drycost of a comprehensive organic fertiliser program is no more than a stock and Dairy farmers attended. That workshop showed the strong conventional one and the focus remains on clover’ says Arthur Payze. interest in Organic farming and will encourage Fertco to open the Fertco regularly fields enquires from Farmers looking to engage a next event to a broader audience. On the day Graham Shepherd who number of different farming philosophies: eco-friendly, regenerative, developed the visual soil assessment (VSA) spoke to an attentive biological, organic, conventional and a mix. Fertco don’t mind what audience on the impact of good soil management. Grahams station farmers call their type of farming, the focus remains to improve soils on the day was in one of the highest producing organic kiwifruit to achieve best result for the farmer and the environment. ‘Often orchards in New Zealand and all attendees left feeling they had learnt farmers tell us what products they want to use, that’s fine, we provide some positive and productive steps toward more sustainable soil quality advice and products to suit their cause’ says Arthur Payze. management. This was a good example of why Fertco employ the The greatest volume of fertiliser that Fertco supply could be VSA as part of the CloverZone® testing programme. described as conventional, but Fertco’s Organic product range is Fertco encourage all Stationary and other marketing material (e.g. brochures, business cards etc.) – The BioGro logo can extensive, and the volume is growing; covering all major nutrients farmers to look at their fertiliser appear anywhere on stationery and marketing material (including invoices) if 100% of the business is and trace elements as well as Bio-stimulants such as humate and options, starting with the certified organic by BioGro. seaweed products. Clover Zone testing program A new product Fertco are bringing to the New Zealand market is and then develop a Fertiliser if only ‘part’ of the business is certified organic (e.g. one product or service), then the BioGro logo Protamin, a Bio-Gro certified fertiliser that provides nitrogen and bio plan that best suits their must only be placed in immediate to the product(s) or service(s) which are certified stimulants. Protamin GR at 13% nitrogen is aproximity game changer for those situation. farming organically. ‘This product will consumers. most likely be used in animalorganic to avoid misleading based agriculture in cropping situations’ Arthur points out, ‘growing Graham Shepherd short term feed crops without Nitrogen inputs is really tricky, so


The logo for BioGro’s programme for organic inputs must appear in: PMS: 484

CMYK: 20, 100, 90, 40

Protamin will be an excellent tool’. PROTAMIN contains three fractions of organic nitrogen with fast, medium and slow release for a balanced nitrogen supply throughout a crops cycle. It’s nitrogen content combined with the extremely high fraction of extractable organic carbon, and the water absorption capacity of the products, favour the activity of the soil microflora, thus increasing soil fertility. The bio-stimulant complex acts both on the Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

If the idea of working together with a sustainable programme appeals to your sense of ethical and profitable farming, then give the Fertco team a call now on 0800 337 826 or look us up at 161


Beefing up a dairy business BY: SANDRA TAYLOR PHOTOS: EMMA MCCARTHY


aikato dairy farmers Adrian and Pauline Ball are using a combination of genetics, forages and management to reduce the environmental footprint of their dairy beef operation by 25-30%. This is off an already low base. The couple, who last year won the Gordon Stephenson Trophy at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) national showcase as well as the supreme award for the Waikato region, own and operate what they call a hybrid dairy/beef business near Cambridge. In essence they use beef genetics to add value to the calf crop from their dairy

herd and 74 hectares of their 196ha farm is dedicated to dry stock production. Adrian and Pauline are continually driving efficiencies in the beef side of their business to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of beef produced. This means they are selecting the genetics and using forages and management to finish their beef as quickly as possible and while they are already operating from a very low emissions’ base – 10.6 tonnes/ha against the average on a Waikato dairy farm of 16t/ha – a recent trip to Europe has fuelled their enthusiasm to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions even further. The couple won the study trip as part of their BFEA prize package and took the opportunity to visit dairy beef operations in Ireland and Northern Europe, particularly Holland where Belgium Blue genetics are commonly used over dairy

cows to produce fast-finished beef. Meeting with Rabobank staff in Holland, the couple were encouraged to focus their efforts behind the farmgate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of quality beef produced and this particularly resonated with Adrian. “They like the idea of not worrying about other issues and just focusing behind the farmgate, because it is easy for farmers to get side-tracked.” The trip also reinforced the need to gather credible data to back up farmer claims about environmental footprints and animal welfare standards. “It was clear on our study trip that if we are serious about achieving a high-value product, data becomes a fundamental requirement demanded by the customer.” Since returning home, the Balls have implemented cow manager tags to collect data and help to improve their efficiency

The Balls have been playing with different beef genetics to see what suits their system.


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May 2020

Right: Adrian and Pauline Ball run a hybrid dairy beef business, adding value to the calves produced in their dairy operation.

with monitoring and managing animal health and growth rates. They are used as decision-making tools that reflect the individual product footprint for both meat and milk. “Our focus is certainly on the quality that comes off our property with the aim of becoming even more niche producers.” In Europe, they saw beef dairy cross animals being processed at just 10 months of age and while Adrian thinks that is unrealistic in this country, they are striving to finish their steers at 13-14 months on pasture. They have been using short-gestation Belgium Blue and Charolais genetics (AI) over their non-replacement dairy cows and Angus bulls are used over their heifers and as a follow-up bull for their cows. The couple run a recording system so know the sire of every calf born and tag each animal at birth, so there is no confusion between Angus cross and Friesian calves. On their dairy operation they milk 300 autumn-calved Friesian cows, back significantly from a peak of 420 over a decade ago, but this decrease in cow numbers has been offset by their dairy beef cattle and the premium they receive for winter milk supply. When Country-Wide spoke with the Balls in March they were in the middle of calving and Adrian says they have some fantastic calves again this year with no calving issues. This year they will be leaving some of their Belgium Blue calves entire to see if they can be finished faster as bulls to high carcase specifications. Underpinning these genetics are Ecotain plantain (which reduces nitrogen losses), chicory, ryegrass and clover pastures which are proving to be highquality finishing feed. But ultimately it is stock and pasture management that is the critical factor. “This is a common theme I’ve seen everywhere in the world and here in New Zealand, it comes down to good old animal husbandry.”

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May 2020

Keeping calves adds value Adrian points out that not so long ago their beef cattle would have been put on the “bobby truck” at just one week of age, worth little more than $20/head. Now, by the time their beef cross steers are finished in early summer, they are worth about $1800/head, but these cattle have also enabled Adrian and Pauline to reduce their farm’s total greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient losses while giving them a farm business that would stand up to the scrutiny of regulators and the general public. Pauline describes their business as “dairy with a side of beef” and this hybrid model is a step change from what has become the norm in a dairy industry where farmers are driven to maximise milksolid production both per cow and per hectare. Adrian and Pauline know what’s it is like to be constantly striving to intensify and increase production because it is a model they were part of in the early 2000s, but in Adrian’s view, it is a model that has let the industry down. While their business, Dennley Farm, has evolved to include dairy and dairy beef, there have been seminal moments along the way that have changed the

couple’s way of thinking and operating. One of these was meeting the late Gordon Stephenson and being inspired by his passion for onfarm biodiversity. Another was when Adrian completed the gruelling Coast to Coast One Day multisport race in 2009. It was during this personal development that Adrian began to rethink what they were doing and the longterm sustainability of their high-input dairy system. They wanted more balance in their life and less time in the milking shed. About the same time, they were having to put their week-old autumn-born bobby calves on a truck for a long trip to the closest processors. This simply did not fit with their personal values or animal welfare ethics and was when the decision was made to put an end to all bobby calves. “We just couldn’t do it anymore, it just didn’t make sense,” Pauline says. In 2014 Adrian and Pauline bought their 74ha dry stock block, just 3km from their home farm, which is where they grow out their dairy heifers and finish their beef cattle – although there is a lot of integration between this and the 122ha


Trying genes on for size

Angus cross steers. An Angus bull is used across dairy heifers and as a follow up bull.

dairy platform depending on feed supply and seasonal variations. All calves are reared together and under Pauline’s care, the calves are given colostrum for as long as possible-usually six to seven days. Cows are given a colostrum rating of gold, silver or bronze, with the “gold” cows producing the freshest colostrum. The calves are weaned at 100kg but continue to be fed a calf meal supplement throughout their first winter. All the Friesian bull calves are sold to a finisher (they have had the same buyer for several years) and these calves attract a premium as they are from a closed operation. The remaining calves stay on the dairy platform, acting as a valuable pasture management tool over their first spring and early summer. In December they are taken to the dry stock block and the first-calving heifers are brought back to the dairy platform. Adrian says they target a 260kg carcaseweight (CW) in their beef cross heifers, which are finished at 18 months. The steers are carried through to heavier weights and they aim for 320kg CW in their Angus-cross steers and 340kg CW in the exotic crosses. Adrian says the Friesian component stops them getting too fat.


Adrian and Pauline have been working closely with Samen, who supply their Friesian and beef genetics for their artificial breeding programme. This AI programme has allowed the Balls to play-around with different genetics and so far, the short-gestation Belgium Blues are outstripping any other breed in terms of growth rates. But it is the carcase attributes that the couple is targeting and this includes yield and intramuscular fat – or marbling. Adrian sees no reason why, with the right genetics and management, their crossbred cattle cannot hit the premium beef grades, such as Silver Fern Farms’ EQ grade. “There is a real misconception out there that if it’s out of a dairy cow it is of poorer quality.” Adrian says NZ’s dairy beef industry needs to build more credibility by having the ability to produce a premium product. “We are hoping to get that out of the Angus, but we need to invest in those genetics.” As the couple’s autumn-born cattle are finished earlier than their spring-born counterparts, they also attract a premium for out-of-season beef supply. Adrian and Pauline finish 120-130 beef cross calves every year and because they run a low stocking rate across their whole business, they have grass and stock growing and thriving throughout the year. While the couple strive to add value to what is essentially a by-product of their dairy operation, they believe beef cross cattle represent a huge marketing opportunity for NZ’s red meat industry. “I think we’ve got a great opportunity to present our grassfed brands, if we do it well and have a bit of courage around quality assurance. “I believe we can have the most believable story in the world,” says Adrian.





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May 2020

Footprint reduced By incorporating dairy beef into their business and reducing the number of milking cows they have been able to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and reduce nitrogen (N) losses from 75kg/ha in 2003 and 45kg/ha in 2013 to 25kg/ ha. Improved infrastructure and including lucerne and the Ecotain plantain in their rotation has also helped reduce N losses. The Balls do use N fertiliser, but very strategically and just trickle it on. No single application exceeds 15 units/ha. Lucerne is grown on their drystock block and this crop – along with maize silage – is cut and carried for use as a supplement in the dairy operation. The lucerne and maize can be fed on a covered feedpad when dry conditions limit pasture growth on the dairy platform. The couple say beef has allowed them to reduce their environmental footprint by diluting the emissions from the higher-intensity dairy part of the business. Adrian with one of 6000 natives the couple has planted since 2014.

Duck shooting leads to more biodiversity Adding to their dairy beef story is the biodiversity they have been building into their business over the years. What began by building a couple of ponds to shoot ducks out of, has turned into a real interest in creating habitat for birdlife and improving the aesthetics of the farm. Since 2014, they have planted more than 6000 trees, predominately natives, helped along by grants from the Waikato Regional Council and South Waikato Environment Initiative fund. They have also fenced off 1.7km of river boundary on their drystock block and this is where a good proportion of the trees have been planted.

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May 2020

Pauline says the planting has also helped their farm health and safety plan, as it has taken high-risk areas such as sidings out of the equation on their dairy platform. Financially, the business is generating a $3500/ha surplus. The dairy platform is producing $4500/ha while the beef side of the business is producing about $2500/ha. But for the Balls, it is not all about the money, rather the dairy beef has allowed them the generate a profit while meeting their environmental, social and personal goals and enabling them to meet the Dairy industry’s Dairy Tomorrow targets. “The beef has given us the tools to

achieve all the targets the dairy industry has set. “We, as an industry cannot afford to be making long-term decisions based on individuals’ debt loading, we need to be thinking about the good of the dairy industry.” From a personal level, Adrian and Pauline are farming with more enthusiasm than they have in years. Before they converted Adrian’s family farm into a dairy operation in the early 1990s, the farm was a cattle finishing operation-so Adrian is essentially returning to his roots. They believe they can show that with the right genetics and management, the dairy industry can produce top quality beef and meet the environmental and animal welfare expectations of an increasingly critical society. • Supplied by Beef + Lamb NZ



Left: Wylmur and Lou Thompson: Lou does today what he’s been doing for years - keeps moving and keeps enjoying what he does.

Still busy at 97 BY: ANNABELLE LATZ


ou won’t see a badly hung gate on Lou and Wylmur Thompson’s farms. They moved to their 41-hectare farm of rolling flats in 1999, a steerfattening block near Dargaville, a stone’s throw from Bayly’s Beach. Just shy of his 97th birthday now, Lou said they keep themselves fairly busy running two farms; this one and a 54ha block just down the road they bought a few years earlier, which they had planned to build on until this farm with a house came up for sale. “It’s only sort of a retirement job,” Lou said, sharing a few stories about farm life as he sat in his living room with a cup of tea and a slice of Wylmur’s 80th birthday cake in his hand. Behind him a wall full of hunting photos of them both leaping over fences, while he spoke quietly about his rural life methods and theories, and how he has filled up his years so far.


The pair used to breed cows and also run a few sheep on their former 290ha farm in Ngatawhiti, which Lou acquired in the early 1950s thanks to a successful Marginal Land application (to break in the land) and a loan of $35,000 which they finished paying off the day they moved to where they are now. “When I got there, there was one gate on the cow yard. When I left there were 62 gates, you could open them all off a horse.” At one stage they had 1700 ewes, mainly Romneys, but there were so many thistles they decided to get more cows, mostly Herefords. On the breeding side, their bulls were Poll Hereford, Simmental, Shorthorn and Sallier. “We bred about 140 cows each year, for many years. The Poll Herefords always had good temperaments. We started off with these, the others were just for interest sake.” They started off selling the calves straight off their mothers at the local

Westfield Sale. That progressed into yearling sales, then moved up to keeping and fattening steers. “Then we bought the block next door, so we’d take the two-year-old steers there and finish them, that would take about 12 months and we’d sell as three-year-olds. It’s very rewarding to breed and sell.” On their current farm they run just a few crossbred sheep, and fatten around 100 steers – black white heads, Hereford Friesians, and the Canadian breed Speckle Parks, which Lou likes because of their big bone. “They’re dairy cross. You can’t get the straight cattle like you used to. They don’t come into the saleyards that often.” They’re bought at 18 months and finished as three-year-olds. “They average 392kg and they’re not even three years old yet.” Lou has a few farming methods he sticks to. Continually shifting stock for one, to manage feed. “I’ve never break fed or anything, and people couldn’t get over that the grass seemed to be the same over.” Although Lou did admit that this summer’s drought was bad, even with his grazing methods. He was feeding out their silage in March, but usually doesn’t start until July, and that’s only for six weeks. “This drought is the worst I’ve seen. These dry winters are hurting us. The water tables are way down, they’ve dropped four metres from when we moved here 20 years go.” “The main thing is water. If the stock have water, they usually survive on nothing.” In a typical year, they will sell finished steers late spring or near Christmas, some later ones he’ll carry through until autumn. Things are a bit different at the moment though and they haven’t bought any stock this year due to the dry and are running very light on numbers. Lou’s usual rule of thumb is to never sell until his stock are properly fat. “I’ve never got into that, selling as stores. I always sell as finished.” Lou grew up on a farm just across the river down on the flats near Dargaville,

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May 2020

Right: Lou and Wylmur Thompson fatten steers on their two ‘retirement blocks’ near Baylys Beach in Northland.

his father’s returned soldier’s farm, and his grandmother brought him into the world. “I don’t remember that,” he smiled. He remembers they used to milk their cows by hand in the race as they stood on wooden boards, then they’d carry the milk to the separator. “There was no concrete, no metal, and plenty of mud.” After he finished school, Lou spread fertiliser. This was done in the form of an oat sack around his neck, filled with manure. He could spread three tonnes a day by walking the paddocks. “It was just after the slump and the jobs weren’t around in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.” After he finished school in Arapahue Lou worked in Waitera, then in 1942 he joined the army, going to Italy in 1944 as a 21-year-old, to join the front line. “We pushed the Germans back when the snow melted.” All the single men were sent as an advance army to Japan afterwards, then the J Force took over. “I came home then and it was hard to get a job so I went cattle droving in Whangarei. “I had my 23rd birthday over the equator coming home.” After droving cattle, he worked on a 2100ha beef farm in Ngatawhiti, then went share milking in Ruawai to qualify for his Marginal Land Loan; Lands and Survey would put you on a farm, and in order to qualify for a loan you would have to accumulate points by gaining skills in different farming sectors. Lou admitted he hated the dairy cows, so after three years and achieving his cow grading, he was offered his job back at Ngatawhiti, and leased a place down the road. “Then I was in the pub one night and someone said ‘why haven’t you applied for Marginal Land Loan?” So he tried again, and succeeded, to the song of $35,000. Wylmur was born in Umawera, north of Okaihau. They met at a show in Broadwood A&P Show, where Wylmur was riding in the show ring and Lou was the judge. “There was no first prize for her, I

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May 2020

thought she might get the wrong idea. I met her at the pub afterwards, I knew she’d be there.” That was 1972, they married in 1974, and lived at Ngatawhiti. They both had children from previous marriages, but have certainly made a great life together, farming, and hunting their horses with Northland Hunt. Well Wylmur still does, although Lou hung up the reins when he was 93 years old. That’s one of Wylmur’s favourite things about living where they do now. “You can go on your horse and go for a ride on the beach,” she said. For Lou’s 90th birthday the Hunt put on a huge celebration and hunt members from all over the North Island gathered. “I like to see the hounds and the hare, and people jumping fences. I like the camaraderie.” They used to spend long weekends at A&P shows with the horses competing and had a thoroughbred stallion when they were first married. “We bred some nice horses for showing and hunting,” Lou said. He used to be the clerk of the course at the gallops in Dargaville, then Whangarei, then Kensington. In the rodeo scene in Northland Lou was a pick-up man. Although he no longer gets in the saddle, he still loves the horses. They have a few young ones at home, and he enjoys the fact Wylmur still rides and hunts. And Lou can still keep himself busy with his sheep dogs, he’s got a handful of Border Collies; Jan, Ned and a pup called Gale who he’s training. “I used to dog trial with Huntaways, all around the North Island. I had a really good dog called Bounce, we had five wins, seven seconds, and 63 points in a season.”

Above: Lou only gave up riding horses when he was 93.

Lou has and will always love rural life, and said he hasn’t met a bad farmer yet. His message for youngsters in the farming sector is: “Learn to work. And learn to do what you’re told.” Lou’s not too keen to change much now that he’s semi-retired, although they do get a bit of extra help around the farm with jobs like fencing. “The only technology we have is an answer phone, we weren’t born in the button era. If someone wants to get hold of us, they’ll get hold of us.” And he plans to keep fit and healthy. “I do today what I did yesterday.” Admittedly Lou does get up a little later than he used to, his day starts about 7am, whereas he used to be up at 6. “I’ve always stuck to what I know. Some people think I’m old-fashioned, I probably am, but it works all right for me. We’re too old to do anything else.”



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ver more than 30 years in business, the TechniPharm team have seen, experienced and learned a few things. Many farmers handle stock work in unsafe and outdated wooden yards and spend a lot of time doing what could be done much faster and safer in modern facilities. Thousands of yards remain that were built by bushmen in the early days of land reclamation. Many have a combination of hardwood, native timber, hand-carved post and railing with a combination of knotted pine rails in areas where there have been breakages or changes made. In some cases they have an early design of headbail or crush Today we do more yard work, have heavier stock, often there are inexperienced staff or aging farmers. Yet we handle more stock and are acutely aware of the need of performance gains and grazing times. And then there are health and safety regulations to adhere to. At TechniPharm it’s not about the sale of steel , it’s about the right design for the farm system. The company takes great pride in working closely with clients to design a yard and handling system which is going to deliver what they need to achieve for the farm in the next 25-50 years. Proven animal behaviour science determines the right dimensions for best flow and best behaviour with the least number of people and the least amount of effort. TechniPharm is not about putting a yard system on every farm in NZ, what we are about is to put the right system in the right place for the right outcomes.   More? Visit or call 0800 80 90 98

Waikaka team wins big at Wanaka


his year’s Wanaka show provided an incredible finale to the World Hereford Conference for the team from Waikaka Station. New Zealand Herefords teamed with the Wanaka Show committee to host a special Hereford show day on the Friday of the show, and many of the southern studs took the opportunity to show cattle in front of the 400-strong crowd of delegates from around the world. In addition, southern studs also brought heifers for the young breeder teams to


show during the handling portion of the Boehringer Ingelheim Young Breeders Competition. The day then moved into the show classes, and Waikaka Station had wins across the board. “We couldn’t be more thrilled. We have been working hard to improve the polled breeding within our herd, and these wins, in front of such a huge audience of Hereford breeders, has really reinforced our confidence in our breeding programme,” Waikaka stud principal Ross Paterson said.

Crowd favourites were a heifer and calf pair, and a nine-year-old cow, Dorothy, with her calf at foot, who went on to take out titles the next day during the all-breeds classes and walked away with Supreme Champion of the show. The win for the nine-year-old cow is a great testament to the longevity Waikaka prides its herd on, but perhaps the biggest success for the Waikaka team was with its younger generations. Ollie Paterson, (also 9) set foot in the ring for the first time with a calf, his

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May 2020


Simmental breeder goes for gold


n East Coast Simmental stud breeder has put his money where his mouth is, securing the pick of the bunch at a South Australian Elite Production Bull sale earlier this year. Tom and Adeline Sanson of Gold Creek Simmentals, Gisborne, secured the 944kg polled bull, Woonallee Phar Lap, for $50,000 – topping the well-known annual event. Tom ranked Phar Lap among the top three bulls he had seen in the 10 or so years he had been attending the Woonallee Simmental sales. “He ticks a lot of boxes. Composition wise, his length and depth is outstanding and he carries himself beautifully. “We have our eye on an ambitious vision in terms of our breeding programme here at Gold Creek, and we are willing to do what it takes to realise that,” Tom says. They’ve invested significant time and effort into searching for the right genetic material and Woonallee Simmentals have always delivered for them. Tom’s focus is on breeding bulls with the explosive growth and power Simmental are long renowned for, as well as beefing up the carcass traits and producing cattle with good EMA, rib, rump fat depth and IMF – something that breeds such as Angus are more traditionally recognised for.

The Gold Creek team with Woonallee Phar Lap.

“We are striving to produce a class of animal that is largely unprecedented for the Simmental breed. “We take a whole value chain approach and that includes a focus on the end product - a quality eating experience.” He also maintains a strong emphasis on temperament as well as polled genetics. “We want to be delivering the whole package to our clients and, yes that’s a bold vision, but we believe we can achieve it. “With New Zealand being a small country our gene pool is obviously limited, so we decided to start introducing genetics from abroad some years ago.” He says the move hasn’t been without its

risks and challenges. “Aside from being one of the best Simmental bulls I have ever seen, he’s a conduit between the old and the new, with all of the traits we are looking for in moderation – structurally sound, polled, docile and with outstanding phenotype.” Phar Lap’s pedigree also speaks volumes – his sire has a NZ influence in the background so he should integrate smoothly into Gold Creek’s operation. “As far as price goes, I don’t think $50,000 is unreasonable for a bull of that calibre – we have to spend money to make money and I have no doubt he will be worth his weight in gold.” 

Right: Dorothy with calf.

first ever time leading, and loved the experience. Ollie is the sixth generation on the family’s Southland farm and the show sparked a new enthusiasm for stock working. Lisa Bonenkamp, who has been a stockhand at Waikaka for the past three years, spent the week as travelling reserve for the New Zealand Young Breeders Team which won the competition. She had the chance to shine in her own right on Saturday as champion in the Young Handlers class. 

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May 2020



Leading the way with polled programmes


ith an eye on the future and a drive for remaining progressive, more and more Simmental breeders are adapting their breeding programmes to introduce polled genetics – which is simply a no-brainer according to Simmental New Zealand Chair Person, Colleen Knauf. “The subject of polled/horned cattle has become increasingly topical in the seed stock industry in recent years, and even more so with the new legislation having come into effect last year, mandating the use of local anaesthetic for the dehorning and debudding of any animals in New Zealand.” The reasons for wanting to eliminate horns from a beef herd are aplenty, but animal welfare is certainly at the forefront. “As breeders we are passionate about our herds so of course we want to ensure their welfare first and foremost,” Colleen says. “The benefits of breeding for polled cattle extend beyond just this though – it is something our commercial clients are increasingly demanding, and for good reason.” The practice of dehorning cattle, usually as calves, is carried out to reduce the risk of injury to each other and to stock handlers. It does, however, come at a labour and monetary cost to ensure these appropriate

animal welfare standards. “It’s a job farmers would typically prefer to do without, hence the increase in demand for polled genetics.” Though it’s certainly the way forward, breeding for polled cattle is a complex process requiring a dedicated effort. It’s not as simple as introducing a visually polled bull into a herd of polled cattle. “It comes down to genetics; polledness is a qualitative trait and therefore controlled entirely by genes.” With Simmental, like most other cattle breeds, the polled/horned gene is simple recessive – the poll allele (P) is dominant to the horn allele (p). By using available DNA tests, breeders

can determine whether a polled animal is homozygous or heterozygous polled. “Armed with this information, breeders can ensure they are using homozygous polled sires, and subsequently enable them to convert their entire herd much sooner. “As a breed, Simmental is continuing to make its mark as industry leaders. The fact we have more and more breeders adopting the use of this genetic testing it yet another testament to this.” Knauf says beef farmers should ask a progressive breeder about buying DNAtested polled Simmental bulls, or contact the association for more information on the topic of breeding for polled cattle. 

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Steel yards save time, aid flow


airarapa farm manager Jake Coulston canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t speak more highly of the Landquip permanent sheep yards installed on the property five years ago. Jake manages Marangai, an 800-hectare (effective) property owned by the Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Boyle family. It runs 4000 ewes plus 200 cows and operates primarily as a breeding unit, producing 5500-6000 lambs each year. Sale lambs are usually sold at weaning or soon after on the store market at around 30kg liveweight. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve worked as shepherd on a few places and been managing here for the past three years. These are the best sheep yards Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever worked in. We never need a dog in the yards and that says a lot about how well the sheep flow,â&#x20AC;? he says. The new yards replaced an older wooden set which were poorly designed, meaning throughput for typical stock handling tasks like weaning or drenching was low.

Another example of a Landquip permanent yard system installed under existing cover.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;These yards have taken an hour a day off our big weaning days when weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got two teams going, weaning and weighing sale lambs at the same time,â&#x20AC;? he says. They were designed with the help of Landquip owner James Fyfe and manufactured in the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hastings plant for installation on site. They have a circular forcing design which offers two options for getting stock into either

two single-drenching races, or a drafting/ weighing race where stock go through a Racewell weighing and drafting crate. Their metal construction means almost no maintenance and Jake says the yards are surprisingly quiet. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since they were installed on the farm, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never had to get the Landquip team back to sort anything. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m an absolute convert,â&#x20AC;? he says.


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Alcatraz progeny stirs interest


he first progeny from Angus semen imported to New Zealand from a Canadian-bred bull will be born this spring and interest is building from local stud breeders. HR Alcatraz 60F created a stir in Canada last year when a two-thirds interest was sold at auction for $240,000 to two other studs. The bull was bred at Hamilton Farms, about 30 minutes from Calgary in Alberta. Owner Rob Hamilton says HF Alcatraz 60F may be the best bull they’ve produced in more than 30 years in the purebred Angus

business. He is confident the bull’s pedigree and structural soundness will add value to the NZ stud Angus market. “We know that strong feet and legs and calving ease are critical traits for NZ breeders, and Alcatraz will deliver on those,” Hamilton says. NZ marketing agent for the semen, Lorne DePape says Hamilton Farms is recognised as one of the top purebred Angus breeders in Canada, and has sold semen and embryos in many countries around the world. A limited amount of Alcatraz

Above: Canadian bull ALCATRAZ, an ideal outcross for NZ Angus stud breeders.

semen was sold in NZ in late spring 2019. “We are really looking forward to seeing those calves on the ground next spring, so that NZ Angus breeders can see for themselves the quality that Alcatraz genetics will bring to their breeding programme,” he says. More? Call Lorne DePape, 027 871 2006 or

We purchased Ratanui Coal for $22,000 at Mel and Nicky Storey’s Sale He has grown into a very good 3 yr old with an excellent temperament

Just a few of the cows he was mated to

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Angus National Sale goes online


he Covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented social and economic turmoil throughout New Zealand and around the world over the past few months, yet our beef industry is quietly battling through. Just outside of Feilding, 21 of the best R2 Angus sires from around the country have been grazing at the Allflex Angus Bull Unit since November last year. Property owner David Wright has bolstered them through the drought season and produced a stunning result. “This is a solid group of bulls, they’d be one of the best I’ve seen since I started

in this, so we’ve teamed up with PGG Wrightson and bidr to get these bulls out to the buyers,” says Guy. Although bidr is a relatively new selling platform, being online makes it a very practical solution to trading stock in the current farming climate. After discussing the opportunity with the stud breeders, overwhelming support was shown and 18 of the 21 have elected the online sale option. They will be sold on Wednesday, May 13, on bidr, the country’s leading online trading platform. Farmers can view and buy the bulls from the comfort and safety of their own devices, wherever they may be.

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hosting the unit here 7 years ago,” David says. The group were scheduled to be sold at the 100 Year Angus National Sale in May, however this sale was cancelled when Covid-19 took hold. PGG Wrightson National Genetics Manager Callum Stewart and Guy Sargent of AngusPure NZ saw this as a lost opportunity and knew there must be a way to still host a sale. They wanted to ensure these top sires were still offered to the marketplace they were destined. “A number of these sires come from our AngusPure Partner studs and major sponsor Allflex deserved our support

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Crush for a one-man operation


hen Hawke’s Bay beef farmer Patrick Crawshaw went shopping last year for a one-man operated cattle crush, he found the Combi Clamp HD Vetless unit provided a great fit for his farming operation. Crawshaw runs a 285-hectare property at Patoka, west of Napier, where he farms a combination once-bred heifers which are then mated again and sold on as rising three-year breeding cows, plus a 300-head beef finishing operation. “I needed a crush that could handle all the regular weighing and treatments required for both breeding and finishing cattle,” he says. He’s usually working cattle through the yards on his own so ease of flow and speed were also high on his list of requirements when he was searching for a new crush. “That’s where the auto head yoke really comes into its own. I can push animals up and it automatically grabs them as they pass through. That’s a big benefit for me with this crush,” he says.

He also favours the Combi unit’s simple design and operation which make it a dream to perform the regular cattle weighing he does to ensure his finishing business is on track to meet slaughter commitments. “The crush is quite open as well so cattle coming into it can see their mates through the other side, and that helps to draw them in,” he says. His crush has a Gallagher weigh scale unit plus load bars included, and cattle in the finishing programme all carry EID tags so monitoring weight gain and managing NAIT data is easy to handle. Crawshaw chose the option of having split side gates that mean he can check under animals or apply animal health treatments over the top like pour-ons if required. Combi Clamp co-owner Wayne Coffey says the company has most of its range of products still in stock, but there will be a “bit of a lag” in replenishing this after the lockdown comes off. There is special pricing available on some items too.

The Combi Clamp HD Vetless.

“We’re taking orders and enquiries through the lockdown. No deposit is required, and we’ll ship it, or they can pick up once the lockdown is over. People are welcome to withdraw orders should they change their minds but by placing an order they get a spot in line,” Coffey says. Visit: Combi Clamp’s website for more information.

Lowline: an efficient small breed


horter gestation period and calving ease make Lowline bulls a good choice for dairy or beef herds. Not to be confused by its shared heritage with the Aberdeen Angus, the Lowline breed is making its own way in the beef sector with more than 40 registered breeders here in New Zealand. Calving ease, especially when mated to first-calving heifers, and the shorter gestation period of about 270 days means Lowline bulls are fitting nicely into dairy herd mating programmes. Breeders in NZ say their cattle offer high fertility, early maturity and breeding longevity. Dairy-cross calves often attract a premium at sale time, they say, thanks to extra growth created by hybrid vigour. Another bonus is their moderate frame size which means they are efficient cattle to winter. Lowline cattle also have good levels

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

A rising four-year-old bull out with the cows. The docile temperament makes Lowlines easy to handle.

of intramuscular fat which adds flavour and tenderness to their beef. These cattle are naturally polled and thrive in any farming region of the country, from hill country to easier flat properties. They are an ideal animal for lifestyle block farmers because of their docility and ease of management. Lowline cattle were developed by

the New South Wales Department of Agriculture during a 20-year breeding project that began in 1974 at the Trangie Research Centre in New South Wales, using the Trangie Angus Stud which had been a closed herd since 1964. The project was about breeding for size, selecting the largest and smallest animals as comparative groups and using the remainder as a control. Thus the Highline, the Lowline and the Midline control groups were bred separately. The small, black cattle are generally about 60% of the size of the Angus breed. Weight varies from herd to herd with some breeders favouring smaller frames for the lifestyle market and others concentrating on bigger frames for commercial beef production. More?


New Zealand Breeder Directory STUD





ANGUS NEW ZEALAND PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: NORTHLAND Argyle Black Dog Hokianga Kapiro (LC Rangitane) Limerick Lomond Matauri North West Angus Puketi Silver Ridge Te Atarangi Te Huia Waitangi

RJ Quinn N Egerton D Booth D Elliott MJ Toohill DF & Est of DB Graham BC Maxwell M & S McKinley CA Davie-Martin DR & IL Lawson CH Biddles P Cook J & J Bayly

Kaikohe Auckland Kohukohu Napier Kaikohe Okaihau Kaeo Ruawai Waiotira Wellsford Te Kopuru Whangarei Paihia

09 401 1933 021 999 020 09 409 5070 06 839 5836 09 404 4948 09 401 9584 09 405 0357 021 130 0184 09 432 2106 09 423 8108 09 439 1589 63 09 437 3797 09 402 7552 151

AUCKLAND / WAIKATO / BAY OF PLENTY Black Bear Hauturu Angus Heather Dell High Valley Hillcroft HKTK Kaiangapai Kauri Lake Farm

K Davenport J Bowen & Y Fogarty GB & N Heather B Glover MA & FA Crawford EK Mitchell & TM Price WMG & CA Koberstein D Fogarty C Brown Rotomahana (CL Waihora) D Elliott Mahuta JV & ME Allen Matai Mara S Coldicutt Matapara RN Matthews O’Reilly J & P O’Reilly Oakview AR & PA Hayward Rapahoe B & J Muir Rima L Wright Rolling Rock J Harrington & S Adams Stokman M & S Stokman Takapoto S Le Cren Twin Oaks RB & SC Hayward Waitawheta AI & PA Sharpe

Rotorua Waimamaku Rotorua Pokeno Ohinewai Waimana Mangakino Te Aroha Cambridge Napier Tuakau Cambridge Te Puke Auckland Cambridge Te Puke Auckland Ngaruawahia Rotorua Cambridge Ngaruawahia Waihi

07 347 0239 09 405 4611 07 357 2142 09 232 7842 07 828 5709 07 312 3315 07 882 8532 07 884 5774 07 827 8292 06 839 5836 09 233 3097 07 827 3808 07 533 1108 09 627 6205 07 827 1847 07 573 9617 021 669 144 021 276 9557 07 333 2446 49 07 870 2702 129 07 828 2131 07 863 7954

KING COUNTRY / TARANAKI Ariki Aysgarth Aywon Black Forest Black Ridge Bos Colvend Downsend Gillamatong Highland Hingaia Iona Mangaotea Parakau Puke-Nui Rotowai Shian Storth Oaks Tarangower Te Kupe


J & K Jury Urenui S & DF Stockdale Te Awamutu PJ & AH Bishop Stratford B Jakschik Taupo D & T Sherson Taumarunui S Harvey Stratford A & V Park Ongarue N & M Scobie Stratford RJ McDougall New Plymouth M Wells Stratford RKA Jolly Te Awamutu BG Bevege Te Kuiti RR & JM Blackwell Inglewood J & M Barbour Waitara AG & CS Donaldson Taumarunui A & N Cave Te Kuiti BD & SJ & RL & TT Sherson Taumarunui T & K Brittain Otorohanga R & N Purdie Mahoenui P & JL Martin Stratford

STUD Wairere Waiwiri





CP & EO Lander A, P & C Gane

Hawera Stratford

06 272 2899 06 762 2621

S Herries JH & JM Bayly P & P Hoogerbrug CG & S Crawshaw L Edginton K Dodgshun B & K Johnson C & S Dowding MJ & NK Story SA & J Brosnahan H & R O’grady DJ McHardy B & P Crawshaw R & K Kirkpatrick P & S Williams AR & T Powdrell PGH Watson P Lane

Gisborne Wairoa Gisborne Nuhaka Tolaga Bay Gisborne Gisborne Te Karaka Tolaga Bay Ohope Kotemaori Gisborne Motu Gisborne Gisborne Wairoa Gisborne Gisborne

06 863 7000 06 838 7019 66 06 867 4232 32 06 837 8881 127 06 862 6382 06 862 8642 06 867 8089 06 862 3876 32 06 862 6125 06 864 4468 06 837 6558 06 867 0837 64 06 863 5044 06 862 2807 06 868 6709 35 06 838 8805 77 06 867 0336 172 06 862 2865

C & J Harvey B Pickering J & M King WB Philip SM Duncan D Absolom J & T Dorotich M Tweedie D Warburton DR & VC Bone M Fraser MA Kennedy JD & BB Ramsden I Pharazyn KA & MJ Friel R Kent WA & VP MacFarlane CE Pattison G Dunkerley A Stewart

Waipukurau 06 857 8363 Dannevirke 06 374 3645 Takapau 06 855 8288 Dannevirke 06 374 8857 Havelock North 06 858 4909 Napier 06 839 5834 Dannevirke 06 374 2814 Napier 06 836 5477 Havelock North 021 467 607 Havelock North 06 877 4143 Hastings 06 874 3874 Porangahau 06 855 5528 Pongaroa 06 374 3889 Waipawa 06 857 3828 Woodville 06 376 4543 Ongaonga 06 856 6747 Hastings 06 874 8762 Waipukurau 06 858 8863 Waipukurau 021 223 3895 Hastings 06 876 6015

AH & T Thomson JM & LJ Fouhy NF&JE & RT&SK Kjestrup KJ & G Higgins W & A Falloon W & A Falloon T Simpson BD Bendall L & R Thorneycroft R & R Borthwick D Reynolds & T Jackson

Masterton Pahiatua Masterton Masterton Masterton Masterton Featherston Eketahuna Masterton Masterton Pahiatua

06 372 7065 133 06 376 7324 06 372 2838 137 06 372 2782 79 06 372 7041 06 372 7041 06 307 7059 06 375 8583 36 06 372 5702 06 370 3368 06 376 8400

Feilding Hunterville Ashhurst Ashhurst Marton Ashhurst Taihape

06 328 9784 137 027 437 6302 06 355 1300 06 329 4748 06 322 8608 81 06 329 4050 06 388 7519

EAST COAST Alpine Cricklewood Kaharau Kenhardt Mangaheia Nicks Head Orere Rangatira Ratanui Resurgam Shamrock Tangihau Tawa Hills Tuawhiti Turihaua Turiroa Waimata Whangara

HAWKES BAY Abbotsford Blue Duck Brookwood Dandaleith Elgin Ellerton Gembrooke Hallmark Hollowtop Kawatiri Kiwikawa Lightening Ridge Moanaroa Motere Mt Mable Onga Angus Waiterenui Waiwhero Wallingford Whenuapapa

150 81

136 70 130 151

WAIRARAPA 06 752 3884 07 872 6978 06 762 8508 027 426 2364 07 896 7211 5 06 762 7998 07 894 6030 65 06 762 2870 06 753 3981 027 491 3114 07 872 2840 07 877 7541 06 762 4805 06 754 8349 07 896 6714 112 07 877 6657 07 895 7686 07 873 2816 42 07 877 8935 06 765 8002

Dandaloo Glanworth Kayjay Oregon Pinebank Waigroup Pinehill Sandusky Seven Hills Tapiri Te Whanga Totaranui

MANAWATU / WANGANUI / RANGITIKEI Atahua Hill View Kahutarawa Komako Merchiston Ngaputahi Okaka

A & M Dalziell J McAlley SJ & JP Briggs D & N Stuart RL Rowe A & F Cameron PA Revell

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PBB support all registered stud breeders throughout New Zealand STUD Oranga Pine Park Ranui Ranui W Ruaview Tahu Ruanui Waitapu




B McCarroll PLS Sherriff L Johnstone LC & MC Johnstone JD & HD Hammond A Carpenter MD & ES Williamson

Apiti 06 328 4722 Marton 06 327 7284 Wanganui 06 342 9833 Wanganui 06 342 9795 Ohakune 06 385 8040 Taihape 06 388 7712 Palmerston Nth 0274 329 893

PG 69 38

NELSON / MARLBOROUGH Blacknight Brackenfield Kahurangi Leefield MF Okiwi Quail Creek Taimate Tipapa Totaranui Waterfall Woodbank

BC & NS Maisey AC Peter HA Harrison B & R Marris RD Martin RG Barnes-Macpherson H Linssen P Hickman RE Murray J Jackson CCR Waddy AJ & RE Murray

Rai Valley Blenheim Murchison Marlborough Wakefield Picton Blenheim Ward Kaikoura Picton Seddon Kaikoura

03 571 6271 03 575 7514 027 833 1368 027 477 8314 03 541 8559 03 574 1009 027 747 0027 03 575 6878 03 319 4302 03 573 8401 03 575 7388 03 319 4302



AT & KA Peters AJA & IM Devery GR Crutchley JR Minty P & K McCallum J & K Drain RG Sutherland J & S Gunton T & S Law G & J Dickson L Palmer

Roxburgh Tuatapere Ranfurly Otautau Balfour Invercargill Balclutha Waikaia Wakouaiti Otautau Dipton



03 446 6030 136 03 226 6822 03 444 7892 03 225 4631 03 201 6033 03 214 2070 03 415 9500 03 202 7735 03 465 1805 03 225 8525 027 326 5542


DM & RP Scott L Bristow G Davies BJ Todhunter & DM Field T Hutchinson F & G Luporini A Miller JE Jenkins PG, HM & SH Heddell J & K Burrows & Marshall BG & BE Alexander JW Reed R Johal BJ Johns GAH Hargreaves J Gordon L & G McLachlan R & T Coles DS & CJ Giddings P Angland D Whyte R Orr C & A Jeffries AM Stokes JH Fraser AP & AE Laing T Wilding H Haugh CR & LJM Timperley R & K Berquist M & N Salvesen B Murray

Fox Glacier 03 751 0776 Rangiora 03 312 1581 Dannevirke 027 202 3894 Rakaia 03 302 8233 Methven 03 318 5838 Darfield 03 318 6531 Rangiora 03 312 8184 Darfield 03 317 8195 Rangiora 03 312 0404 Amberley 03 314 6720 Timaru 03 689 5575 Culverden 027 258 0732 Rangiora 021 083 23939 Culverden 03 315 8334 73 Temuka 03 697 4858 150 Christchurch 027 230 6660 Amberley 03 314 5993 Pleasant Point 03 614 7454 Fairlie 03 685 8027 Darfield 03 318 5846 Ashburton 03 303 9842 Amberley 03 314 6759 Cheviot 03 319 8585 Oxford 03 312 4285 Pleasant Point 03 614 7080 Leeston 03 329 1709 Cheviot 027 826 4015 71 Cheviot 03 319 2873 Belfast 03 323 8423 46 Ashburton 03 303 0888 Ashburton 03 303 9173 Lake Tekapo 027 294 1442

Benatrade Blue Mountain Delmont Earnscleugh Edenbank Fernvale Fossil Creek Glenwood Gowans Helmsdale Knowsley Park Kowai Landcorp Wiremu Lilliesleaf Linnburn Linton Nethertown Penvose

D Marshall RM & MA Kane JS Cochrane AK Campbell A & R Mitchell L Brenssell GN Sanderson MJ & CJ Howie K H Hutchison H & G Grimm J & T Mitchell DC & DG Stringer D Elliott RW Hall P Barrett Mt Linton Station LW & CJ Carruthers GL Duncan

Invercargill Gore Clinton Alexandra Gore Tapanui Oamaru Oxford Middlemarch Riversdale Gore Gore Napier Gore Ranfurly Otautau Middlemarch Wedderburn

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SOUTHERN 03 235 2228 03 204 8236 03 415 7321 03 449 2031 027 430 6892 027 201 8181 03 432 4093 03 312 3213 03 464 3133 03 202 5995 027 430 6982 03 207 2895 06 839 5836 03 207 3706 03 444 7702 03 225 4838 03 464 3885 03 444 9124

Peters Angus Pikoburn Puketoi Rannoch Rockley Southern Stone Sutherland Umbrella Range Waimara Westfield Wether Hill


CHAROLAIS BREEDERS NEW ZEALAND INC. PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email:

CANTERBURY / WESTLAND Bannock Burn Black Beech Blackrose Cleardale Double Hill Farfield Fernlea Floridale Glen R Glenlake Goldwyn Grampians Johalz Kaiwara Kakahu Lawsons Angus NZ McLachlan McMaster Meadowslea Mt Algidus Mt Possession Red Oak Riverlands J Sinai Stern Sudeley Te Mania The Sisters Timperlea Vermont Wakare Wolds



Castlereagh Clearview Coro Dandelion Meadows Eclipse Forest View Glencorran Goldcreek Kaahu Kaitoke Kia Toa Nouvelle Otiranui Pearl Ridge Phoenix Valley Pohuenui Potaka Pouriwai Rauriki Rosemount Tawa Ridge Totara Dale Whananaki Windyridge

G & S Parry S & K McDonald R Harden & J Boersen LD & MA Fenton M Mare & S Tahu B & J Clements H Gee-Taylor S & L McManaway M & S Riddington N & E Gwillim P & C Grainger P & C Mikkelsen A Roke L & B Burgess D Barfoote Z Grant MJ Totman J & G Kemp SFH & WF Collin K & K Parry M & S Fitzpatrick T & M Browning C & G Harman A & T McIntyre

Waiuku 09 235 0591 New Plymouth 06 752 0791 Thames 07 868 1069 Whakatane 027 651 3825 Foxton 021 246 6893 Hikurangi 09 433 7033 Kimbolton 06 328 2701 Carterton 06 379 5459 Atiamuri 07 333 2903 Napier 06 844 4417 Te Kuiti 07 878 6458 Ohaupo 027 496 9529 Ohakune 06 385 4110 Dargaville 09 439 6046 Whangarei 09 434 6534 Waipu 021 026 74362 Taihape 06 388 0034 Gisborne 06 867 0867 Waipukurau 06 858 8045 Hawera 06 278 8474 Te Puke 07 533 1866 Dargaville 09 439 4457 Hikurangi 09 433 8253 Dannevirke 06 374 3687

A S & A E Holland T & G Hargreaves E Owen N Nelson AJ Roulston S & R Inch BC & BT Fisher D & T Haselden D & C Dundass R Burgess RWP Sandford M & N Keen F & K Templeton K & P Jordan

Culverden Geraldine Christchurch Ashburton Balclutha Cheviot Christchurch Christchurch Ranfurly Owaka Hastings Christchurch Tokanui Blenheim

SOUTH ISLAND Hemingford Kakahu Maroa Nevana Poller View Rockdale Silverstream Stanmarie Taiaroa Tararadowns Topaki Tui Springs Twin River Willowhaugh

03 315 8689 03 697 4858 03 325 6010 021 293 1515 03 415 7581 03 319 8458 03 329 0994 027 462 8850 03 444 9770 027 280 6793 0274 620 136 03 329 5147 03 246 8516 100 027 305 9577

NEW ZEALAND CHAROLAIS CATTLE SOCIETY INC C/- PO Box 3062, Richmond, Nelson 7050 Freephone 0800 Charolais (242 765) Phone: 64 3 544 7181 Email: Page: 20 NORTH ISLAND Auahi Balmarc Broadwood Coleman Farms Crystalview Fitzco Glen Rua Hill Country

JG & PG Henderson D & C Balme W & G Semenoff J & L Coleman P & M Reardon S & E Fitzgerald N Atkins P & J Crothers

Otorohanga Otorohanga Kohukohu Kaikohe Waitara Te Awamutu Dannevirke Mangamahu

07 873 8477 07 878 7792 09 409 5522 09 401 0902 06 754 6585 07 871 1862 06 374 1808 06 342 2848


PBB support all registered stud breeders throughout New Zealand STUD Labramor Rimu RJC Stonehill Villa Wairoa Winding River




R & A Tilsley D Dittmer R Coleman M Merrin & M Savage R & J Tilsley J Bell M King

Onewhero Taumarunui Kaikohe Tauranga Onewhero Tauranga Dargaville

09 972 9259 07 896 8451 021 270 1330 07 552 5962 09 232 8735 07 552 6512 09 439 4795

L & C Leslie S Hassall J Calder A Roultston H & R Warnes

Middlemarch Amberley Balclutha Balclutha Wakefield

03 464 3207 03 314 4949 03 413 9350 03 415 7581 03 522 4073

SOUTH ISLAND Cloverlands French Connexion Leighfield Poller View Tadmor

GALLOWAY CATTLE SOC. OF NZ.INC. PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: Page:152 NORTH ISLAND Abergeldie A & G Smith Waipukurau 021 024 78106 Blue Spring P Vaessen & J Peeters Otorohanga 021 1467 957 Alclutha B Fitchett Upper Hutt 021 997 891 Aspendale C Harty Otorohanga 07 873 6968 Awanui S Vanner Stratford 027 332 7304 Bonnydale C Harty Otorohanga 07 873 6968 Bryndlee R Brownlee Ngatea 027 605 8494 Burton Farm A Knowlton & A Burton Walton 027 424 8355 Calary R & L Parkin Levin 021 441 046 CherrybankNZ B McVerry Pukeatua 027 693 3400 Corinium V & G Darlow Palmerston North 06 326 4396 Dafferie S Huckstep Opunake 06 761 7540 DB Farms D Stewart & B David Te Aroha 07 889 1930 Dickey Flat R & A Sorley Waihi 07 929 7355 Forest View S Nicol Ohaupo 027 231 7399 Golden Skylight C Wells (Junior) Eketahuna 021 520 370 Glen Finnan B Fitchett Upper Hutt 021 997 891 Gordon Valley R & M Hodgetts Stratford 06 762 2933 Grange G & M Turner Hamilton 027 595 5598 Grange Polar G & M Turner Hamilton 027 595 5598 Hinterland K Atherton & S Tindall Porirua 021 224 7802 HL Esoteiro H Underwood Maungaturoto 021 042 245 Inverness B Peat Papakura 027 205 5012 Kahala G & M MacKay Havelock North 027 471 6812 Kahurangi D Ramsay & J Lasseter Te Awamutu 07 870 3972 Linwood L Van Eyk Te Awamutu 027 405 8445 Lossit Ridge K & P Murphy Taumarunui 027 222 2278 Misfit Farm K & N Norman Masterton 021 853 653 Mirohiwi N Smith Te Awamutu 07 855 6777 New Gastel Galloways M & B Oomen Drury 022 185 2686 Penny Plains K Futter Lower Hutt 027 568 7662 Pheonix D Scown & C Fisher Patea 027 622 8854 Rawcliffe L Buchan Levin 021 712 217 Rerehuatea D Eastes Whangarei 09 972 7669 Riverview S Pinfold Pahiatua 021 263 1169 Rocky Waters C & A Forsythe Putaruru 07 883 5933 Ryebred F Ashmore & P Mans Otorohanga 07 873 7050 Sanctuary Hill D & A Staples Featherston 06 308 9119 Stonebeck P Stone & C Beckley Te Kuiti 027 548 5440 Suncrest Arctic B & K Curry Upper Hutt 04 526 8831 Tara Hill R & S Boyd Waimauku 027 837 0959 F Paulin-Simmonds & G Spencer Manurewa 021 056 8156 Terrior Thief of Hearts E & D Lister Pahiatua 027 325 8101 Ti Rakau Flats C Dawson Foxton 06 363 6144 Trossachs Farm P & J Dickson Stratford 06 765 6225 Tullamore T Birdsall & L Peat Taupo 07 378 3242 Twin Stacks H Walton Albany 027 447 5904 Urenui MA Galloway N & J Moratti Urenui 027 415 7934 Wayby T Wood Wellsford 021 462 658 West Harbour T Berkahn & A Boyle Whenuapai 021 393 820 Willow S & P Clark Greytown 021 106 9113 Willowvale M Backhouse-Smith Tangiteronia 09 433 2765 Windwood A Lane & E Ohlsen Taranaki 021 376 664 Witchhill M Downes (Junior) Paeroa 027 251 5119






J & G Coles A & R Cotton D Bunn B & P Targett A McNaughton J & T Snyman E Taylor (Junior) P & S Lawson S McLaughlin S Allan R Johal A Read J Johnson R & L Hall A & J Templeman G Jordan & J Beare N Rattanong J Morrow A & G McCall M Stokes (Junior) J Maxwell J Dodds S Anderson & G Linton B Wickstead J Taylor A & L Holmes E Thomson

Invercargill Lawrence Alexandra Wakefield Alexandra Westland Otautau Palmerston Christchurch Motueka Rangiora Ashburton Darfield Gore Picton Wakefield Rangiora Oamaru Tapanui Oxford Riverton Christchurch Winton Rangiora Otautau Fairlie Rangiora



SOUTH ISLAND Banffshire Bellamy Cowie Cloverdean Dunderave Dunollie Estelle Eldin Forest Park Glencairn Johalz Kinross Lilbarnach Lilliesleaf Mahakipawa Misty Glen Mountain View Moana-Roa Paradise Flat Ranch Galloways Rosemay Shenandoah Sylva Lina Tawhai Taylordale Willowbrook White Rock

03 235 7089 027 485 9049 021 214 8843 021 0829 5735 027 441 8519 027 419 3812 03 236 2708 027 228 8252 027 432 8142 021 155 8439 03 312 0234 03 302 6870 03 325 4678 027 201 0440 03 574 2686 03 522 4035 027 308 5280 027 566 7769 027 405 4766 021 0838 1930 027 227 9385 021 076 9313 03 201 6262 027 471 1718 03 236 2708 03 685 4800 027 4811060

GELBVIEH CATTLE BREEDERS SOC. OF NZ. INC. PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: Page: 135 NORTH ISLAND Bright Hill P/ship Cairnsmore Dutzea Edenbrook Kowhai Lochaber P/ship Panorama Gold Stirling Te Kakano Trust Wairau

T Lane S & K Cook J & J Weijers B Lawrenson H Vermeulen R & L Cameron S Cook GK & MM Otterson K Roulston S Mitchell

Hawera Cambridge Cambridge Hamilton Masterton Stratford Tapanui Raglan

021 556 107 0274 501 634 07 827 8704 07 827 0775 07 856 5201 06 372 5855 027 358 9667 06 762 2842 027 696 1078 07 825 5774

NEW ZEALAND HEREFORD ASSOCIATION PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: NORTHLAND Arahou Clear Ridge Furness Haumoana Kaipara Marua Matapouri Moana Omana Orira Otengi Pampas Lane Perenphord Sheerwater Streamlands Te Puna View Point Waimaire Wyborn

W Lambeth NG Krissansen M Goodwin JV Williams S Biddles I & L McInnes B & J Clements RJ & A McEvoy D Wills EJB & S Karl PJ & SA Shepherd WM Grounds P & H Martin R Morris DJ & MR Blythen C Gerrard G & V Ireland P Shepherd BD & PJ Coutts

Tangiteroria Whangarei Dargaville Whangarei Te Kopuru Hikurangi Hikurangi Dargaville Whangarei Okaihau Kaeo Kaitaia Whangarei Helensville Warkworth Kaikohe Okaihau Kaeo Hikurangi

09 433 2902 09 436 2229 021 165 8897 09 434 0864 09 439 5493 09 433 8431 09 433 7033 09 439 8503 09 432 9131 09 401 9300 09 405 0983 09 409 5521 09 437 2263 09 420 2566 09 425 8258 09 405 9736 09 401 9937 09 405 0294 09 433 8335


V Rogers & M Scott M Reichmuth

Rotorua Kati Kati

07 332 3031 07 549 0493

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PBB support all registered stud breeders throughout New Zealand STUD Belhavel Bluff Branston Bushy Downs Charwell Colraine Craigmore Dunmanway Dunmanway Junior Dunmore Eilean Donan Fitzco Goldstream Graham H&R Herepuru Hillbilly Hillcroft Hokianga Hoko Hoobees Hukaroa Isola Kairaumati Kairuru Kanuka Kikhills Knight Ridge Knightlands Kokonga Liev Mahuta Maranui Maru Maui McGlashan Narrandera Ngutunui Oaza Okupata Ondaedge Otamatea Pahine Pukenui Rapu Red Hill Redclifft Rifleman Rivervale Rock-End Rotokawa Sandstone Sarona Seaview Spring Manor Springvale Te Toro Tui Hills Twelve Oaks Twinstar Valda-Rose Waipa Wando Willowspring Wynola




S Lyons-Montgomery Rotorua 07 333 2735 P Jackson & K Lereculey Waiuku 021 178 3863 G & G Hosking Waiuku 09 235 9175 RM & MP Port Te Awamutu 07 872 2715 PST Davies Whakatane 07 322 1080 C & S Corney Ohaupo 07 823 6252 DB & SE Henderson Ohaupo 07 825 2677 107 KC & AJ Deane Family Trust Hamilton 07 889 8205 J Deane Hamilton 07 444 5103 B Rowe Ngaruawahia 07 825 4420 H Steens Rotorua 07 333 2627 C Fitzgerald Te Awamutu 07 871 1862 WJ & RG Rapley Te Awamutu 07 870 1714 J Graham Australia 0061 26940 1501 C McCulloch Papakura 09 292 4045 P Paki Whakatane 07 322 2362 C & L Osborne Matamata 07 888 0898 MA & FA Crawford Ohinewai 07 828 5709 I Webb Albany 09 947 3330 B Heard Rotorua 07 332 2271 B & S Hooton Whitianga 07 866 2907 D & L Hansen Te Kauwhata 07 826 7817 D Murdoch Waiuku 021 419 297 R & K Ward Colville 07 866 6821 K & J McDonald Reporoa 07 333 8068 RJ,RA & AM Russo Hamilton 07 825 9904 E & S Koch Tuakau 09 283 8637 MA Adams & BA McKenzie Morrinsville 07 887 5557 SG & DM Knight Whakatane 07 322 2413 B & M Robinson Auckland 09 233 3020 M & J Douglas Papakura 09 292 7666 JV & ME Allen Tuakau 09 233 3097 101 SR & RM Brown Waihi 07 863 5368 L & K Ramsey Pukeatua 07 872 4891 SG Kitchener Tuakau 021 297 5635 M McGlashan Tirau 07 883 4685 DV & TD Sinton Te Awamutu 027 444 6005 A & D Knighton Te Awamutu 027 496 0259 Oaza Farm Ltd Pokeno 027 365 0099 P & M Atkins Oparau 07 871 0524 A Miller Pukekohe 09 239 1502 WJ & KG Muir Waiuku 09 235 2983 S Adams Papakura 021 129 8075 B & S Elrick Tauranga 07 543 1996 RA & AP Rendell Te Aroha 07 884 8888 J Hill Katikati 027 458 5295 MR Doole & TL Hill Waiuku 09 235 1080 S Tillemans Hamilton 027 282 2180 M Rangiawha Morrinsville 021 034 4900 PD & KM McCormick Aria 07 877 7897 K Vuletic Rotorua 07 345 5482 G & A Chitty Waiuku 09 235 8527 D & M Hey Papamoa 07 542 9190 H & M By De Ley Te Puke 07 573 7442 S & K Quigley Ngaruawahia 07 824 7343 M Mathis Tokoroa 07 886 9493 Waiuku 09 235 2217 IR & CM Carter R Philips Tauranga 07 544 8139 G Scott Rotorua 07 332 2099 K & T Wooller Walton 07 888 3502 RE, JV & LE Baker Tauranga 07 543 3448 G Sirl Hamilton 07 829 8435 RD Guy Tauranga 07 543 3894 G & L Peters Otorohanga 07 873 7599 G & A Price Thames 07 868 1127

TARANAKI Bexley Davandra Gay Learning Horizon Huirangi Hurstpier Mangaotea Penny Lane

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C & C King D & A Steele PJ & MO McDonald NJ McLeod S & M Helms RN Jupp RR & JM Blackwell KV & S Collins

May 2020

Mokau Hawera Stratford New Plymouth New Plymouth Waitara Inglewood Stratford

06 752 9863 06 273 4128 06 765 7961 06 753 6265 06 752 0075 06 754 6764 06 762 4805 06 762 8058

STUD Shadow Downs Tawanui Te Koa The Hairy Spot Wai




ID & DA Smith L & J Downs J & T Pullen PE & MJ McLeod KR Topless

Stratford Stratford Patea Hawera New Plymouth

06 762 7899 06 762 3531 06 273 8448 06 272 8516 06 754 6684

S & G Hain R & M Wilkins P & C Reeves P & S Humphreys R Wanklyn

Gisborne Te Karaka Gisborne Gisborne Gisborne

06 867 8097 06 862 3035 06 862 2701 06 863 9576 06 863 9869


EASTLAND Beanbah Highwood Mokairau Wilencote Woodlynd

CENTRAL DISTRICTS Ardo Ashby Awhea Awhea Two Gaedelian Innes Brae Okahu Panorama Platform Riverlee Riverton Rosebank Tusons Waitaporiri

JS Morrison G & D Timms MR & LL Langtry H Gibb EG Manderson CK Francis KA Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill A Cook M & C Will M & F Curtis M & C Cranstone T Robertson & P Green D & K Mitchell B Burgess

Marton 06 327 7359 Palmerston Nth 06 362 7829 Feilding 06 323 4790 Queensland 06 323 4352 Palmerston Nth 06 357 7007 Kimbolton 06 328 5897 Raetihi 06 385 4558 Feilding 027 944 1179 Palmerston Nth 022 694 2362 Kimbolton 06 328 2881 100 Wanganui 06 342 7721 Feilding 06 280 3104 Palmerston Nth 06 329 6906 Dannevirke 021 215 7194

BEW Miers J & T Dorotich J M & M Taylor M Steele PJ & LF Barnett FC, CC & JJ Chesterman B & C Donald N Barnett D Warburton

Dannevirke 021 026 38079 Dannevirke 06 374 2814 Porangahau 06 855 5322 113 Dannevirke 06 374 7342 Dannevirke 06 374 3555 Havelock North 06 874 7844 27 Dannevirke 06 374 2939 Dannevirke 06 374 3555 Havelock North 021 467 607

JB McKenzie JB McKenzie S & M Robbie M & D Robbie & Family B Tomlin J, A & E McWilliam

Masterton Masterton Eketahuna Eketahuna Masterton Masterton

HAWKES BAY Brimai Gembrooke Glenbrae Glencairn Kaitoa Koanui Ngakouka Te Rangitumau Waiohine

WAIRARAPA Gay Maungahina Otapawa Otapawa Pounui Te Taumata

06 378 6896 06 378 6896 06 376 6459 112 06 376 7250 06 378 8571 06 372 7861 154

NELSON / MARLBOROUGH Dunbeath Hannah Kelbon Lake Longacre MF Rotoiti Twynham

BP & JI MacKenzie A & L Hannah KT Noble MJ & I McConochie M Murphy RD Martin R Paterson NDL Higgins

Blenheim Wakefield Blenheim Nelson Ross Wakefield Queenstown Nelson

03 572 2540 027 331 6473 03 572 8962 03 521 1843 03 521 1171 03 541 8559 03 521 1841 03 521 1883

D Long RJ & MA Burrows B Forrester B & Y Lee GJ & DA Chamberlain EM Skurr M Stevens C & A Jeffries AD & JA Sidey SM Tipping R Stokes DJH & RA Murray PW & FME Scott ED McKerchar N & P France RCH Peacock

Hanmer Springs 03 315 7932 Rangiora 03 313 2857 Hawarden 03 314 4195 Cave 03 614 3996 Cheviot 03 319 8500 Oxford 03 312 4215 Cave 03 614 3830 Cheviot 03 319 8585 164 Hawarden 03 314 4277 Timaru 027 867 4689 Oxford 03 312 4362 Kaikoura 03 319 4331 Timaru 03 612 9962 Pleasant Point 03 614 7712 Ashburton 03 303 9749 Geraldine 03 692 2893 101

CANTERBURY Alfriston Beechwood Blackhills Bluestone Capethorne Eton Fairford Grassmere Jandoc Kamaro Lees Valley Matariki Matatoki Merrylea Okawa Orari Gorge


PBB support all registered stud breeders throughout New Zealand STUD Pute Richon Shrimptons Hill Stirling Hills Sunny Peaks Tarangire Timperlea Downs Wairepo Waratah Woodburn WRM



A Fisher R & J Stokes JH McKerchar IJ Lewthwaite A Lott M Harvey Timperley Investments HAE Willliamson NSA Girvan TG, PG & HB Molloy LJ MacKintosh

Christchurch Amberley Cave Timaru Fairlie Oamaru Rangiora Omarama Fairlie Rangiora Rangiora



03 329 0994 03 314 8251 03 614 3759 03 686 4727 03 685 8814 03 431 2727 027 291 6057 03 438 9583 03 685 5898 03 312 9700 021 272 1410

R Hellyer BI & C Robertson AK Campbell P & S Lawson Taffy Ltd TF Condon Foulden Hill Ltd WP & ML Williams P Kane AC McCall SL Dew M Hall G & R Pannett GR Brown CDB, LJ & HG Douglas NJ & SA Baird GS Shearing CH Miller S & N Gibson GM Speden AE Denham J Taylor Estate of CM & FC King Waikaka Station Ltd RM & MA Kane K Duncan

Invercargill Wyndham Alexandra Palmerston Winton Hokitika Middlemarch Fox Glacier Gore Gore Gore Gore Roxburgh Cromwell Te Anau Gore Otautau Gore Oamaru Gore Palmerston Otautau Tuatapere Gore Gore Outram

03 235 8704 03 206 4894 03 449 2031 03 465 0640 027 487 4355 03 751 0864 03 464 3603 03 751 0826 03 204 8236 03 207 2847 027 478 8094 022 167 6164 03 446 6833 03 445 1204 03 249 8588 03 202 5489 03 225 8428 03 202 5339 03 434 2661 03 202 5339 03 465 0605 03 236 2708 03 226 6791 03 207 2835 03 204 8236 03 486 2617


108 102

Wellsford Pukekohe Paparoa Wellsford Pukekohe Auckland Hamilton Matamata Dannevirke Auckland Tauranga Towai Whangarei Pukekawa

09 423 8968 021 408 408 021 636 912 09 423 7016 09 236 3873 09 530 8487 07 824 0948 07 888 5254 06 374 1575 09 236 0200 07 549 5998 027 275 4403 09 437 7944 09 233 4453

W James Ellesmere Estate WH Gibson CTG Phillips F Hoekstra RL & JM Johnstone J Miller & C Scott Rodney & Tania Coles J & J Mawle G Kennett & M Montgomery G Finlayson

Coalgate Christchurch Invercargill Tuatapere Ashburton Outram Tapanui Pleasant Point Rakaia Christchurch Southland

03 318 2352 09 329 0093 03 235 8484 03 226 6143 03 302 2840 03 486 1841 03 204 8177 03 614 7454 03 303 3198 03 329 6380 027 404 0436

SOUTH ISLAND Ben More Ellesmere Emberley Fern Hill Kararehe Glencairn Loch Head McMaster Pinedale Piwakawaka Willowburn




BBQ Ranch C B Farms BHQ Performance Barnyard Compak Black Casablanca Rancho Radiata DB Farms Peak Kaitake Heathcote Ironclad Stone Bridge Canto Alegre Kingfisher Farm Karaka Pure Lotus Black Diamond Lonestar Mangapiko Lowland Park Ngahere Lodge Oakridge Smokey Hollow Te Ia Farms Triple M Tui Ridge

118 118

M & L Butler A Birt G & A Holder S Luey M & K Harnett J Sainsbury D & C Clee D Stewart & B David D Beardmore F Henchman W Butterworth S & M Millar I Hanmore J Dib B Marsh C & R Ford J & S Dudli M & L Bazeley M Butler D & K Birchall M & T Wilkinson S & C Quinn N Shanks & J Rudduck F Read R & P Gedye J, S & K Moore G & P Venman

Whakatane 027 451 4395 Tikitere, Rotorua 027 345 3658 Auckland 021 882 222 Upper Hutt 027 450 7444 Palmerston North 021 473 422 Whanganui 06 342 6670 Warkworth 027 477 2943 Te Aroha 027 441 4430 New Plymouth 020 439 5260 Taranaki 027 303 8065 Maungaturoto 021 657 393 Auckland 021 606 610 Whangarei 021 201 3441 Hastings 027 251 0032 Waikato 027 283 8907 Papakura 021 707 866 Ohaupo 027 404 1126 Te Kuiti 027 495 9178 Whakatane 022 694 4790 Buckland 027 592 1962 Ohaupo 027 432 2448 Hunua 021 922 010 Maungaturoto 021 757 107 Waiuku 09 235 2688 North Waikato 021 987 348 Taranaki 027 255 4887 Tauranga 021 039 8210

K & P Harmer G & D Guthrie A & A McLachan S & H Rhodes M Koning R & S Bryant P & M Gregorini M & C McGregor E Nurse P & K Worthington

Canterbury 03 325 4232 118 Ashburton 03 302 4964 118 Nth Canterbury 021 0235 0980 Ashburton 03 307 0399 Leeston 03 318 0868 Darfield Darfield 021 851 250 Owaka 03 928 2691 Blenheim 03 572 8576 Rangiora 03 313 6730 118

118 118 118 118 118

118 118

118 118



Araawa Ashmore Dalbeg Pass Edsal Flat Hills Pipi Downs Providence Farm Tahakopa Waihopai Bridge Woolstone Park

NEW ZEALAND MAINE ANJOU SOCIETY 154 Top Road, RD3, Morrinsville 3373 Phone: 021 278 6620 Email:

NORTH ISLAND A Doggett G & D Desmond O & K Clements AF & MR McKenzie Boscobel Farms Ltd RA Hunt P Lean & M Kivell R & D Maxwell AG Farming Ltd Ngarimu Farm P/ship B Polley A Pascoe T/As Marlow AG D & N Roberts Springfalls Ltd


LOWLINES Page: 118

LIMOUSIN NZ Contacts; President: Clark Scott Ph 03 204 8177 Secretary: Natalie Roberts Ph 09 437 7944 Page: 92

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SOUTHERN DISTRICTS Bayside Duncraigen Earnscleugh Eldin Fairview Flagstaff Foulden Hill Glacier KL1 Kotare Latimoor Lilliesleaf Limehills Locharburn Monymusk Oatley Hill Pourakino Downs Pyramid Seadowns Speden Stoneburn Taylor Dale Waiau Waikaka Westholm Willowcroft


NORTH ISLAND Cheverny Thanet Upsdowns Trou-an Matai Kereru

G & T Collecutt Auckland DC & LM Jull Auckland K Sapsworth & S Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien Morrinsville G & A Morgan Auckland J & J Bicknell Auckland J Dooley, W Toner, C Shivers Maungaturoto

09 620 9985 09 292 7755 021 278 6620 09 292 7708 027 331 8607 09 431 8422



SouthCoast Graylands Ranui Brae-Maine Westview

K & L Casey B & L Gray B & G Leslie P & E McKay G & C McLay

Gore Owaka Owaka Gore Owaka

03 208 8329 03 415 8415 03 415 8124 03 203 6052 03 415 8695

NEW ZEALAND MURRAY GREY BEEF CATTLE SOCIETY PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: Pages: 10 & 11 NORTHLAND Glen Kowhai Ruapekapeka

D & J Niccolls AD & BI Priest

Warkworth Hikurangi

09 425 7942 09 433 4703

C & R Lee B & C Foy G & L Brown

Katikati Tokoroa Owhango

021 919 093 07 886 0388 07 895 4867

WAIKATO Aongatete Aspall Bushline

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N & J Burke P & M Atkins Z Brake TM Beer MW Gray L & K Ramsey B & S Troughton K Pasley A Morgan T & R Trenberth M & R Rawnsley T Edwards AJ & DL Powell

Whakatane 07 322 2680 Oparau 07 871 0524 Whakatane 07 308 4999 Mount Maunganui 07 574 8551 Tokoroa 027 814 2617 Pukeatua 07 872 4891 Matamata 07 888 7111 Papakura 09 292 6246 Mangakino 07 372 8010 Tauranga 0274 515 594 Papakura 09 292 5151 Waihi 027 966 7540 Auckland 09 411 8380


SOUTHERN NORTH ISLAND Arawa Brox Cumberland Park Highfields Kingfisher Kotare Mangaotea Onamalutus Yorkvale

MJ Kilsby & DJ Kilsby-Halliday Levin

J Badger G Preston MJ Vickery D & A Fowell W & J Allerby RR & Z Blackwell P Stachurski TW & SW Clarke

06 368 8415 Palmerston Nth 06 356 7932 Foxton 06 362 7959 New Plymouth 06 757 4696 Manaia 06 274 8031 Inglewood 06 756 8162 Inglewood 06 927 3565 Inglewood 027 441 1622 Levin 06 368 6132

NELSON/MARLBOROUGH Golden Caves Opouri Simanda Southbank

R & M Van Megen TP Payton S & A Tripe G & I Leov

Takaka Rai Valley Blenheim Blenheim

021 155 1353 03 571 6391 03 573 7493 03 572 2760

K & K Perry R Powell GG & SK Rountree G & B Black L, G & M Anderson S Rodie RG & JH Hayes RW Driver C Brooks LN Climo

Leeston Kaiapoi Oxford Waikari Kaikoura Amberley Christchurch Kaiapoi Leeston Kaiapoi

03 325 4268 03 327 4357 03 312 4047 03 314 4928 03 319 5467 03 314 8196 03 318 1707 03 327 7899 027 768 9889 03 327 6445

MB & JA Mitchell CJ McIntosh BJ & JA Dickson R & L McLennan BS Macdonald

Cromwell Otautau Gore Port Chalmers Winton

03 445 4546 03 225 5884 03 207 2434 03 472 8291 03 236 2736

CANTERBURY/WESTLAND Aubynview Bluegum Cavan Clifton Downs Haldon Downs Murray Downs Newhall Sherwood Stonybrook Waimak

STUD Suhail Whitepine Wickton Woodlands Woven




B & L Barnes A & D Magee S & A Harris C & J Nash D & R Boven

Katikati Whakatane Cambridge Waihi Auckland

021 411 498 07 312 9872 07 827 2236 07 863 8833 021 446 601

S Sisson S & J Dirksen S & H Foreman R Sadler

Patea Stratford New Plymouth New Plymouth

06 273 8080 06 762 8803 06 758 1285 06 751 0206


TARANAKI Beacon Hill Manu Rubyfields Tukuperu

LOWER NORTH ISLAND Headley Downs Maghera Magnum Millstone Orere Rannoch Rotokawa Rua-Wai Tauhara Willsnet

WE Gardner C & B Hehir E Oliver H G Gordon B & V Didsbury J Downs K & P McDowall M & J Lambourn BJ McQuade D & J Wills

Masterton 06 372 5897 Palmerston Nth 06 329 7710 Stratford 022 151 4344 Havelock North 06 874 6195 Tinui 06 372 6966 Greytown 06 304 9893 Wanganui 06 347 7860 Lower Hutt 04 569 3510 Hastings 06 874 3948 Eketahuna 06 375 8589

J & C Carden-Holdstock K H Hutchison

Christchurch Middlemarch

SOUTH ISLAND Ellesmere Oak Tree

03 329 0094 03 464 3133

SALERS SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND INC. 49 Ponsford Road, RD4, Waiuku. Phone: 09 235 0851 Email: NORTH ISLAND Angus Cameron Carlsberg Kohekohe Ngaio Glen Silversteam Willow Creek

F & C Cameron J & M Gerke I & A McNaughton F & C Cameron M McCracken B & K Woolley

Ashhurst Kimbolton Waiuku Ashhurst Wellsford Wellsford

06 329 4711 06 328 5704 09 235 0851 06 329 4050 09 423 7587 09 423 9361

J Harvie T Corbett & S Rankin

Otago Ashburton

03 465 2455 03 303 6179

SOUTH ISLAND Nenthorn Sequoia

SOUTHERN Kilradie Silver Fern Summersdale Tamarind Sawyer Torrisdale

NEW ZEALAND RED DEVON CATTLE BREEDERS ASSOC. PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: NORTHLAND Ahuroa Arcadia Broadwater Pencarrow Rockview Tapuwae Te Wairere

I & M Hutchinson GA Cooper R Balemi D & S Dreadon R & C Hunter A Beazley C Baker

Warkworth Whangarei Wellsford Ruawai Dargaville Mangonui Wellsford

021 940 860 09 432 2099 09 423 7179 09 439 2154 021 047 9471 09 405 0690 09 423 9664

Auckland Whitianga Whakatane Thames Helensville Napier Hamilton Raglan Whitianga Gisborne

09 235 1680 07 867 1569 07 308 0571 07 867 7573 09 420 2063 147 06 839 5911 07 825 2655 07 825 5300 021 154 0123 06 868 7985

AUCKLAND/CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND AWH Black Jack Devand Hau Hiwi Kaipapa Kaweka Solo Monte Pahu Mt Te Uku Ohuka Shemshi

R Mansfield D Glen J & G Couch G & L McConnell A & J Hargreaves LA Jones H & E Barrio M & R Hubbard D & C Sieling L Askew

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NEW ZEALAND SHORTHORN ASSOCIATION PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: Page: 86 NORTHLAND Ceejay Glenrossie Longview Maungatipu Pukehuia High View Redwood Waiteitei Walker Downs Woodlands

C Doggett D & T Ody S & D Dromgool DW Wilson GS & YM Scott D Wills GN Collins J & N Walker J Wood

Wellsford Whangarei Kerikeri Whangarei Dargaville Whangarei Wellsford Whangarei Kaikohe

021 082 45593 09 434 0987 09 401 9633 09 433 1749 09 433 2470 09 432 9131 09 423 7058 021 022 07160 09 401 2543

SOUTH AUCKLAND / WAIKATO / BAY OF PLENTY Aubrey Browns Carnegie Glenview Lochburn Orena Orena Roscliff Stoneford

RC Smith H & J Brown B Parry D Goddard KA Stokes KB & B Morton C & M Morton R & E Riddell R & D Park

Otorohanga Morrinsville Waiuku Rotorua Taupiri Katikati Katikati Te Awamutu Matamata

07 873 6968 07 889 5965 09 235 2721 021 460 957 07 824 6751 07 552 0815 021 520 244 07 871 5691 07 888 1899

KING COUNTRY / EAST COAST / HAWKES BAY Colvend Hiwiroa Mohaka River

A & V Park JM, PIA, N & C Syme R Crozier

Ongarue Waipukurau Napier

07 894 6030 06 858 5369 027 533 1374


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SBD Hain R & M Proffit TJ Plummer

Gisborne Mahoenui Taupo

06 862 8096 07 877 8977 07 378 8979

87 85

MANAWATU / WANGANUI / TARANAKI / WAIRARAPA Bullock Creek Hinewaka Mangaotuku Mill Valley Tainui Te Kohanui

R, D & L Honeyfield DB Blackwood JD Hann A & A Harris MD Collis AF Deighton

Waitara Masterton Stratford Stratford Palmerston Nth Marton

RA Wollen S Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connell C Randall NW McKenzie C Stewart & K Muggeridge W Callwood

Nth Otago Leeston Amberley Oamaru Kumara Takaka

03 431 2817 03 325 4054 027 233 3678 03 431 2871 03 736 9691 021 556 806

J Wollen JAS Leslie A & H Thomson SM Williamson F Fletcher AW & KE Marshall BR Helm CM Smith AE Erskine

Oamaru Balclutha Winton Omarama Tapanui Tokanui Ranfurly Invercargill Tuatapere

03 431 2817 03 415 8344 03 236 7783 03 438 9580 03 204 2052 03 246 8498 03 444 9277 113 03 230 4565 03 226 6713

Okaihau Kaikohe Whangarei Waimamaku Kaitaia Kaikohe Kaikohe Kaitaia Whangarei Hikurangi Wellsford

09 401 9692 09 405 9665 09 973 3405 09 405 4531 09 406 7463 09 401 0020 09 401 0090 164 09 409 3450 09 437 7935 09 433 4831 09 431 4893

A Austrin & N Yeates P Maxwell SD Chesswas MI & NJ Entwisle B Glover MG Robinson A & T Neal D Elliott

Whakatane Auckland Cambridge Te Kauwhata Pokeno Te Awamutu Piopio Napier

07 307 1433 09 524 6442 027 924 7593 07 826 3194 09 232 7842 07 871 1551 07 877 8009 06 839 5836

S & K McDonald J & T Pullen K Farrell JRC & DA Gloyn M Malmo JD & HD Hammond

New Plymouth Patea Hunterville Palmerston Nth Palmerston Nth Ohakune


C & C Hutching H Boyle AH Thompson TW Sanson K & L Humphreys C Knauf KJ & LM Nankervis

Dannevirke Waipukurau Waipukurau Te Karaka Dannevirke Wairoa Hastings

06 374 5986 06 839 5834

WT Burgess A & S Perkin GI McCorkindale MG Elliott R & S Deacon BA & DL Johnston E & M Strauss DR & K Keown D & J Timperley S & L McRae

Owaka Kumara Lawrence Oamaru Rangiora Kurow Mosgiel Roxburgh Cave Waimate

03 415 8019 03 738 0832 03 485 9727 03 434 8397 03 312 8443 03 426 4274 03 489 7521 03 446 8445 03 685 5785 03 689 2832



Ben Vista Burn-Lea Chipinga Glenfalloch Ipurua Kaimoa Manuiti Matai Pohuenui Stream Rosewood Steens Farm Te Hirata Tironui

PG & LG Robertson G & S Anderson C Smith S Nelson PJ Foss M Eagle TV & DE Deighton KJ McConnell JAR Donaldson CL & KP Eagle P & S Steens B Goodall & C Groshinski ME & RL Pethybridge

Feilding Takapau Napier Hastings Aria Eketahuna Mangaweka Whangarei Whangarei Ngaruawahia Te Puke Turangi Rotorua

06 323 6488 06 855 6449 027 542 3169 06 874 9864 07 877 7881 06 376 8256 06 382 5551 09 432 2120 09 432 2475 027 230 6686 07 571 6515 07 386 5805 07 357 5113

RA Van Asch RA Van Asch P Hoskin S & J Eden BJ Thomson JFG & BJ Wilson B, R & J Lowry Family RE Maxwell MD & JD Wason J Hocking JG & FG McKenzie J Holt

Christchurch Christchurch Te Anau Gore Mosgiel Palmerston Balclutha Rakaia Sheffield Ashburton Otautau Blenheim

03 342 3844 03 342 3844

87 88

Aschwood Burtergill Coombe Park Java Loch Lomond Mount Royal Pinzridge Rosehill Snowview Trethvas Wainuka Woodah

027 227 6988 03 489 8151 03 465 1323 027 347 7683 03 302 8860 03 318 3771 027 432 6021 03 225 5844 03 572 2514

Hamilton Auckland Warkworth

027 915 8888 021 635 021 021 523 038


06 752 0791 06 273 8448 06 382 5757 06 324 8323 06 362 7361 06 385 8040

06 374 1802 027 466 8660 06 858 8705 06 863 1444 06 374 1786 06 838 6792 06 874 3221

Dannevirke Napier

WELSH BLACK CATTLE Secretary Shirley Jenkins Phone 09 4225 742 Email: Colonsay Lynvale Mauku Milestone Noelaine Swn-y-Mor Te Wae Wae Te Wahie Totara Grove

HAWKES BAY / WAIRARAPA Brooklands Evertree Glen Anthony Gold Creek Hillview Kerrah Lynmar

S Wylie D Absolom

Full Blood Wagyus Ltd N Dick Wagyu Purebred NZ Ltd M McCool Wakarua Wagyu M Collier

TARANAKI / CENTRAL DISTRICTS Clearview Kurawai Lowridge Matai Peplow Ruaview


NZ WAGYU BREEDERS ASSOCIATION Maclom Collier Phone 021 523 038 Email:

SOUTH AUCKLAND Barnridge Cornwall Park Gilead Hampton Downs High Valley Loxar Potawa Waikite



NORTHLAND A & B Gubb V & S Vujcich A Pedersen AJ Parlane Vinac Family SD Trotter R & C Gifford J & S Hammond S Campbell A & S Capstick K Woolley



SIMMENTAL NEW ZEALAND PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email: Page: 95 Beef It Blackbridge Blue Water Caniwi Kaingaroa Oakdale Oripak Owhata Poplar Vale Stoupe Willowcreek


SOUTH DEVON CATTLE SOCIETY NEW ZEALAND PO Box 503, 75 South Street, Feilding 4740, NZ. Phone: 06 323 4484 Email:

OTAGO SOUTHLAND Donegal Downs Dundee Empire Glenbrook Glendhu Glenfern Rough Ridge Strabracken Westwood

Ratalea Rissington

Beresford Dry Creek Glenside Island Stream Janefield Kirkland Leafland Lone Pine Opawa Overland

06 754 6699 06 372 7615 06 765 7269 06 762 3520 06 329 0888 06 327 8185

NELSON / MARLBOUROUGH / CANTERBURY Burntwillow Carriganes Dunblane Maerewhenua Turiwhate Woodcall


94 99 98

M Paton S Jenkins D & C Hutchinson P Wheeler N Smith A & K Williams I & C Brickell L Probert T Jenkinson

Hastings Warkworth Stratford Drury Hamilton New Plymouth Raupunga HB Putorino HB Tutira HB

G Dalley E & M Foord K Good

Darfield Wakefield Banks Peninsula

06 874 2850 09 422 5742 06 762 5552 027 935 2612 027 448 0331 06 752 8167 06 839 1686 06 839 7367 06 839 7880

SOUTH ISLAND Elmwood Kawaka Pen-y-Bryn

03 302 8109 03 522 4233 03 304 7510

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Uncertainty over onfarm sales BY: REBECCA HARPER


s bull sale season draws close, many breeders are playing a waiting game as to whether their traditional onfarm sales will go ahead in the current lockdown environment. Angus NZ Association breed manager, Jane Allan, said it was a moving target in terms of the Covid-19 situation changing quickly and every breeder’s sale requirements were different, but the association was encouraging good communication. “The one thing we have been doing is asking breeders to communicate with their stock and station agents to ensure whatever provisions they are trying to provide for their sale, those discussions are well advanced. “Angus NZ is here to provide whatever support we can. We have a database that provides a platform for direct communication with Angus breeders throughout New Zealand.” The New Zealand Hereford Association said it was still too early to say what advice it might give members. PGG Wrightson National Genetics Manager, Callum Stewart, said the company had something in the works, but


was unable to reveal exact details yet. “Although times are uncertain at the moment in the current climate, one thing is for sure, the primary industries will carry on and continue carrying New Zealand through, as we always do,” Stewart said. “With upcoming stud sales due for May/ June, we’ve had to change the way things operate, and are lucky enough to be able to provide a world class platform for our breeders and studs. Bidr is New Zealand’s virtual sale yards and, for the farmer, includes benefits such as greater market access through being able to reach a national audience, more information, and more choice.” PGG Wrightson Genetics was working hard on collaboration and solutions for its clients, Stewart said “We have an exciting offer being released very soon, to assist with this, and make our breeders stand out on an even grander, national scale. Watch this space, we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on and give our customers the chance to be part of the future, with online saleyards.” For breeders Simon and Wendy Collin, of Rauriki Charolais at Flemington, it’s a waiting game to see if they will go ahead with their planned onfarm bull sale. The Collins had planned to offer 25

Jono Reed: ‘We don’t know what will happen.’

bulls for sale on May 26 in a traditional ring sale, and Simon Collin said they would make a definite decision by the end of April. “We’ve already had discussions amongst ourselves as to exactly how we go about it. It is becoming a bit of a problem, we’re in limbo at the moment.” Previously, they have sold bulls via a video sale, and that was a likely option if they were unable to hold an onfarm sale. “We’ve done it before and have a good idea about how to run it, and feel we could confidently sell under that system. “I believe we can do everything online, with good technology. Certainly, it’s one selling method that I think may be taken up this year.” The big issue would be how farmers viewed bulls before purchase. “We’re trying to work through different scenarios if we’re still in lockdown and seeing what the best alternatives are. Perhaps there is potential for people to view bulls beforehand on a segregated basis.


May 2020

BULL SALES | LOCKDOWN “I know of a couple of studs that have already pulled pin (on farm sales), one guy has called his sale off and is ringing his clients, he feels he knows what they are looking for and is just going to send them bulls. He feels that’s the best way forward for himself and his business. But a lot of people like seeing breeding sires in person before purchasing. “It’s interesting and challenging times and it’s about finding a way forward that is the best fit for us.” Collin said beef genetic producers, along with stock and station agents, needed to develop a safe and effective plan for selling bulls in 2020. It’s a similar situation for Jono and Sarah Reed at Grampians Angus, west of Culverden. Their onfarm sale is set down for June 12 and they hope to sell about 40 bulls. Those plans are now uncertain. “Basically I see there are three options – it happens in June, we postpone until spring, or we sell some other way in June, like online,” Jono says. “Definitely I’m thinking about it, trying to present the bulls for sale we’re already thinking about feeding them now. We don’t know what will happen (with the lockdown situation).” The Reeds have been careful to diversify their income streams to ensure they are more resilient, but bull sales do represent about a third of their annual income. “The bulls are the cherry on top for the business and they are definitely important, but we’re lucky we’ve tried to build a business that’s not just reliant on one thing.” For now, Reed is keeping his finger on the pulse and feels there is still time for their on-farm sale to work – though June will creep around quickly and they will start to make a back-up plan soon.



loud Yards is a new online livestock quoting platform, delivering real time sales and buying options to all farmers. Ed Wallace, of Ed Wallace Livestock, is a Cloud Yards founder and shareholder, along with six other North Island stock agents. Wallace said it had nine agents covering the King Country, Whanganui, Manawatu, Rangitikei, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa regions. Cloud Yards was launched to give farmers, and agents, an extra tool in their kit when it came to quoting livestock. “We wanted to keep up with the times and have something to offer our clients.” Cloud Yards is not an auction site, rather it works by giving farmers easy and immediate access to livestock quotes using its broad network of agents across the country. Farmers register, pick an agent in their area and then view listings. Transactions are done in the traditional way, if a farmer is interested in stock listed, they call their agent and the deal takes place from there. “The deal is still done with the security of your reputable agent,” Wallace explains.

“It’s different to anything else out there in that it’s not an online auction site, it’s an online quoting site. It’s an extra tool to me, as an agent, to sell livestock. “A lot of our clients are using it to gauge the market too and keep their finger on the pulse.” In this Covid-19 environment, the added benefit for farmers who wanted to keep themselves and their family safe, was that stock could be viewed online from photos and videos. Wallace said while Cloud Yards continued to operate as an essential service and agents were still able to visit farms to view stock to provide security and confidence to purchasers, there was an option for farmers to supply photos and videos themselves. “The majority of times we view stock and check it off because, at the end of the day, we personally stand by and guarantee every line of stock.” There is no cost to the farmer to list stock. “It’s a standard commission rate, like what you would normally negotiate with your agent. The transaction is still handled by your agent and payment terms are 14 days from sale.” There are over 500 registered users, and that number has grown daily since Cloud Yards launched in October 2019.

THE FEELING’S MUTUAL. With FMG being a mutually owned insurer, the premiums that you pay don’t look after shareholders – they look after you. If that sounds good to you, ask around about us. Or better still, call us now on 0800 366 466. We’re here for the good of the country. FMG0862CWDPS_E

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020



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Country-Wide Beef

May 2020


Above: Greer Bill’s dad Jason rides out, Orakau, Kaikohe, Northland. Above right: Shirley Inman caught this sheep wearing a tyre, normally used to protect lucerne hay on the wet ground. The sheep stood on it and flipped it up. Centre: Shilo Baillie (3) at her uncle’s farm in Waipukurau. Centre, right: Stuart Will (9), helping his Dad crutch hoggets, by tipping them over and dragging them out. Bottom: Cathryn Christie caught these Perendale ewes being mustered off the hill in Benneydale pre tup.

With New Zealand in lockdown it is a perfect opportunity to share stories, photos and even videos of work and play on the farm, but not just with fellow farmers – let’s show the rest of the country why we are so proud of farming. Send in your photo entries and a note explaining what it is about and where you farm. It may be a landscape, action shot or humorous. We will put the best entries in Country-Wide magazine and online. While you are taking the pics, videos and writing stories, we’ll sort the prizes. Starting from June we will announce prize winners in each issue. Photo files should ideally be 1mb or larger. Send your entries to:

Country-Wide Beef

May 2020









Te Pari livestock equipment lets you handle your stock with ease and gives you the tools to make informed decisions. To find out why Te Pari livestock equipment is Yards ahead in efficiency and safety then download the FREE Te Pari Handbook at

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Call us direct on (freephone) 0800 837 274 or visit us at Country-Wide Beef

May 2020

Profile for NZ Farmlife Media

Country-Wide Beef - May 2020  

Country-Wide Beef - May 2020  

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