Courtesy of Kate Taylor (Fairfax NZ)
Chris and Jennifer Chesterman at their Hawke's Bay Koanui Hereford Stud before their on-farm auction which saw 12 bulls sold to other studs.
The Koanui Hereford Stud in Hawke's Bay has hosted the bull sale of the year so far, says PGG Wrightson national livestock genetics manager Bruce Orr.
"They sold 12 bulls for transfer to other studs and another nine stud breeders missed out. That's 12 of 58 and they were right through into the 50s. There will be some with a better average but no-one will sell more bulls for transfer."
Koanui Herefords, at Maraetotara near Havelock North, owned by Fred, Chris and Jennifer Chesterman, sold their 58 bulls for an average of $7443 with the top price of $28,000 being paid by the Matariki Hereford Stud owned by James and Becky Murray from the Clarence Valley, Kaikoura for Koanui Uphold 3396. Three other bulls sold for over $20,000 to a commercial operation and two studs, Riverlee and Kokonga.
Limehills Stamper 429 at home near Millers Flat, Central Otago, before being sold for $31,000.
Te Mania Angus at Parnassus, south of Kaikoura, followed its Beef Expo champion of champions title and $35,000 highest price tag for Te Mania Jonah with a strong sale. It sold 107 bulls for a $6640 average. The third bull on offer, Te Mania 13503, sold to Tangihau Station, Gisborne, for $28,000 – the highest angus price to date at the on-farm sales.
Orr says other season highlights are the Hargreaves family's Kakahu Angus sale in Geraldine with 98 bulls sold for a $7460 average and the Fisher family's Silverstream Charolais sale near Christchurch.
Silverstream averaged $7564 for 50 bulls, when Orr says most terminal sire stud breeders offer 20-25 bulls.
"They would be No 1 in the terminal sires, without fear of contradiction. South Island commercial breeders are prepared to pay $10,000 to $13,000 for their commercial bulls because of the results they're getting."
The top price at the on-farm sales since the Beef Expo has gone to Central Otago's Limehills Herefords with its $31,000 sale of Limehills Stamper 429 to the Rangiora-based Beechwood Stud (with a semen share to the Capethorne Stud at Cheviot).
Limehills breeder Gray Pannett says the bull, from a home-bred sire, has good figures but is also a "well-balanced, good-walking bull with a tremendous amount of flesh on him".
He says highlights of the sale were the repeat buyers and stations buying volumes of bulls for good money.
"Two or three of them are buying three or four bulls. The beef cow guys are making a dollar for the first time in a long time."
Bruce Orr says Maungahina Stud near Masterton also had a good sale, particularly in the number of bulls sold, in what was its 70th on-farm auction.
"Their result confirms the regard commercial people who use and know those genetics hold them in."
Maungahina had an average of $7750 for 32 polled Herefords, $6100 for its Charolais bulls and $8040 for speckle parks.
"We're very happy with that for a new breed. It was right up to par with the other two breeds," says stud master Mark McKenzie.
"We had a lot of old clients there – loyal buyers for many years. We had a big crowd and great support. Repeat buyers is a big one as we're commercially oriented and without them we haven't got a sale. It's a big following for us and it's very humbling."
It has been a good season so far for Hereford breeders – the second-top price at Beef Expo was a $30,000 Glenbrae bull bought by Mokairau Herefords in Gisborne.
New Zealand Herefords president Philip Shepherd, of Kaeo, says the increased averages at Hereford bull on-farm sales so far this year show the "white face advantage" is being recognised by beef breeders nationwide.
Angus New Zealand manager Alan Cook says the Angus breed has seen good averages and good clearances so far this season. Gisborne sales are due to start this week.
"Most importantly, buyers have been able to access bulls at a fair and reasonable price. We seem to have reached a price bracket that looks sustainable for everyone in the industry."
He says the industry is seeing bulls moving around the country more.
"Buyers move all around the country to buy bulls from certain studs. People are using online data bases so they can go and look for bulls that meet their requirements, so where they are in the country is becoming increasingly less of a barrier. Certainly the demand is there for good genetics and the returns they're getting for weaners have never been greater."
As well as the success to date of Te Mania Angus, Merchiston Angus, between Marton and Hunterville, sold 44 bulls for an average of $7377, including Merchiston Stoker 350 for $26,000 to the Atahua Stud and Andrew Stewart.
"It was a tremendous sale, as the stats suggest, but they were a very powerful group of bulls from start to finish with weight and very high EBV data. We have a strong set of repeat buyers which underpin the sale but this year the top was taken off by selling four stud bulls," says herd master Richard Rowe. He says the bulls this year were the heaviest ever offered by Merchiston with an average weight of 824kg.
Newcomers Brookwood Angus owned by Justin and Meg King in Central Hawke's Bay achieved a good clearance with 14 of 16 bulls selling for an average of $6197.
Okawa Major is the Hereford bull that has set the pace price wise this bull selling season fetching $55,000 at on-farm auction, the best price across all breeds so far.
Hereford breeders are enjoying a strong sale season and have reclaimed some market share against other beef breeds says PGG Wrightson national genetics manager Bruce Orr.
Orr who travels the length and breadth of the country attending sales for all breeds has noticed commercial farmers are moving back to using registered Hereford bulls.
“Last year we started to see, and this year it has been confirmed, that some commercial buyers who have been buying black bulls have actually switched to buying Herefords.”
That means registered Hereford breeders have had similar, if not better clearances and in a number of cases, better averages than other breeds.
Orr said last week he had a client purchase 11 Hereford bulls and that client planned to purchase more registered Herefords in coming weeks.
Market prices have been strong with a lift in clearance rates and the average price also improving at the better sales.
“Generally speaking Hereford breeders have had a strong season, it’s been a very good season” says Orr.
“There have been clearances in most cases and overall it’s been very pleasing for Herefords.”
He felt there were a couple of drivers behind the swing back to Herefords.
He cites the production and performance gains of about 10% improvement that farmers can cash in on from hybrid vigour when using a registered Hereford bull over black cows.
“The resulting progeny are always keenly sought after,” says Orr.
Orr also held the personal opinion that the Hereford breed had successfully encompassed increases in performance data but not at the expense of the cattle themselves.
Hereford bull, Okawa Major 2008 bred by David and Rosemary Morrow at Mt Somers fetched $55,000 selling to Kokonga Herefords near Tuakau. This is to date the top price across all breeds this sale season. The Morrows sold another bull for $44,000 to Orari Gorge Herefords. The Morrows average price was $8054.
Other highlights include: Maungahina Herefords, Masterton with a top price of $20,000 and average of $6446; Koanui Polled Herefords, Havelock North enjoyed a top price of $16,000 and average $6650; Waikaka Herefords, Gore with a top price of $15,000 and average of $4894; Monymusk Herefords, Te Anau with a top price of $11,500 and average of $7068; Matariki Herefords, Kaikoura with a top price of $11,000 and average of $7097. Wilencote Herefords, Gisborne averaged $6014 and Mokairau Herefords, Gisborne averaged $6562.
This upwards trend continues from the exceptionally strong national show and sale for NZ Herefords at AgInnovation where the breed took out Champion of Champions honours and top price honours for all breeds at $40,000 paid for Hereford sire Okahu Sonny Bill.