Angus bull sets sale record for Northern Southland

A chilled Angus bull sparked a bidding war in Northern Southland last week. Shawn McAvinue was at the final yearling bull sale of the season and found they had kept the best for last.

An easy-going Angus bull has set sale records in Northern Southland, including the highest price paid for any yearling bull in New Zealand this season.

Of the 37 bulls on offer at the Rockley Angus yearling bull sale in Balfour, 32 sold for an average of $6195, including a top price of $24,000.

Carrfields stud stock representative Robbie Kirkpatrick, of Christchurch, bought the top bull, Rockley S043, on behalf of Tawa Hills Angus in Motu, about an hour northwest of Gisborne.

Mr Kirkpatrick said the “well-structured bull” was the “total package”.

He paid more for the bull than his clients – Blair and Paige Crawshaw – had expected.

“We had a budget and we blew it, but it was the right bull for them.”

PGG Wrightson livestock genetics representative Cam Heggie, of Waikato, said Rockley S043 fetched the highest price for any yearling bull sold in New Zealand this season.

Rockley Angus concluded the yearling bull sale season in New Zealand, he said.

The underbidder on the top bull were Stern Angus owners Fiona and James Fraser, of South Canterbury, Mr Heggie said.

After the sale, PGG Wrightson auctioneer Ben McKerchar thanked the 35 registered buyers for their “spirited bidding” at the helmsman auction.

“There was a fair bit of action.”

About three years ago, they bought out Lloyd and Kathy and now own 100% of both farms.

Her grandparents Fred and Judith Stevens once owned an Angus stud.

She was a teenager when her grandparents retired and they gifted her two heifers to start her own stud.

At school, beef genetics was never promoted as a career path for women so she became a teacher, but always maintained an interest in cattle, including showing them at A&P shows.

Her uncle was a stud stock agent in the North Island and helped her buy heifers and the pastime continued after she got married, including buying “seconds” from studs.

“It was small beginnings – it was a hobby I had to make work in the farming business.”

The 37 bulls on offer last week was the biggest line-up in the history of the sale, 10 more bulls than last year.

Now the goal was to maintain the number and quality of bulls on offer and keep commercial farmers happy by offering them bulls with proven traits.

“So they have an assurance when they’re buying – that’s important to me.”

Mr McCallum said autumn was dry this year and winter and early spring were wet and snow in October impacted hogget lambing.

“The wee hoggeys took a bit of a hiding.”

He was pleased how the bulls handled the seasons and they were in better condition than the line-up at the sale last year.

Mrs McCallum said a reason was due to the bulls having more feed available because 400 dairy cows were sent elsewhere for winter grazing this year so they could focus on the building of a new milking shed on the dairy farm.

Last year’s line-up of bulls were impacted by spring grass growth arriving later than this year and recovering from a bout of ringworm, she said.

Plans were to hold the sale on October 13 next year, a week earlier to line-up with other bull sales in the South.

The dream five years ago was to hold a sale featuring 30 yearling bulls.

To progress beyond that was “phenomenal”, she said.

“I feel super blessed.”

Article by Shawn McAvinue from