Sunday, 17 September 2017

Day 9

After a few days off, we sort of we still did a bit of driving to get to our next destination, we headed out to Rockley Farms owned by Kath and Phillip McCallum. We first met Kath and Phillip when they were out in Australia for the New Zealand exchange in 2009. We again caught up with Kath when we were out in New Zealand for the World Angus Forum in 2013. It was great to visit and have a look around the farm and the cattle.  
we looked over their whole herd including their yearling bulls coming up for sale shortly, and enjoyed the view over more snow capped mountains!
In the afternoon Phillip took us for a short drive to have a look at a large scale farming business that included cropping, cattle and sheep. The business employed around 20 workers and was one of the larger farms in the area. it was interesting to discuss sheep breeds, and lamb weaning weights and to compare them back to what we do here in Australia, the same was done with the cropping however their yields blew us out of the water averaging over 11t to the acre!
we would like to thank Kath and Phillip for taking the time out with us today (and for the yummy lunch) we really enjoyed it!
Lot 1 in the upcoming RF yearling sale, with token dairy bull in the background!

another showy yearling

Day 6!

We headed out to Kakahu Angus today located south of Geraldine, the property is 1200ha ranging from river flats to steeper hills. The stud was established in 1954, and now runs 550 breeding females. The stud has an emphasis on animals with high carcase EBVs and indexes that will suit the high-end markets. The stud has two sales a year selling 120 rising 2 year old’s in June, and another 30 yearlings in October.

We were shown around by Gerald, who gave us a fantastic tour of the farm and the cattle. We were able to view yearling bulls, yearling heifers and freshly calved females. Gerald provided very thought-provoking conversation which we really enjoyed listening to his point of view and the reasoning on how he has come to develop his breeding objectives.

The Kakahu program has a very clear direction, we viewed some fantastic cattle and really enjoyed our time. We would like to thank Gerald for his time and would recommend to add Kakahu to your list if you are planning a tour of NZ cattle.
We were talking so much I forgot to take more pictures!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Day 4 & 5

Yesterday we spent the day travelling form the north island across the ferry to the south island.
We set off first thing in the morning, for TeMania Angus, about 2 hours north of Christchurch. traditionally this would of been a much shorter drive following the coast from Picton past Kaikoura, however the area has been devastated by earthquakes and the road is still cut off. The alternative route is to travel through the mountains through the Lewis pass. This road had been closed off the day before due to a heavy snow fall and was only just opened this morning. It was a spectacular drive with snow everywhere!
We arrived at TeMania Angus just after lunch and was meet with the most spectacular view of both the snow capped mountains, and the ocean. Not a bad place to farm Angus cattle! We were taken by Tim Wilding to the top of their hill country, but unfortunately clouds had come across and limited what would be the most amazing view. After a walk through some true NZ bush to turn a pump on, that pumps out of natural springs from the side of the mountain, we headed back down to meet with the stock manager Will Wilding. We stayed with Will for the rest of the afternoon tagging calves, it was interesting to see the system they used which limited human error. Then after a downpour of soaking rain, we retreated back to the ute to have a quick look over the yearling bulls. By this time we had to set off to get to Christchurch for the Night.
We would like to thank Tom, Katie and Will Wilding for their time.
Driving through the snow

TeMania Sale Ring

TeMania Infinity 04379 with his jewels proudly on the wall

View from the top

Tom Wilding & Murk Tagging a Calf

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Day Three
Today we headed out to our friends Merchiston Angus, I first meet Richard and Vicky Rowe in 2013 for the New Zealand World Angus Forum. We were able to fit in a quick look at Richards farm as part of the forum, so I was keen to get back and have another more details look through his program in more detail.
Merchiston is located on a beautiful property that has been in Richards family since selection, the property is steeped in history including one of New Zealand's most significant historical homes, that has to be seen to be believed.
luckily (again) we were able to find a break in the weather (its still raining!) to have a look at some cattle including cows of all ages with baby calves, yearling bulls, yearling heifers, commercial feeders, herd sires both current and future. The cattle are a real type and are very uniform across all ages which is very impressive to see.
We had a great night staying at Merchiston, we had a beautiful cut of NZ beef for dinner, along with an education of the finest Scotch Whiskey. Its amazing how quickly time fly's when you have great company, and before we knew it 12am had come around and it was time for bed! We cannot thank Richard and Vicky enough for there kindest hospitality, its no wonder they have hosted the NZ exchange winner year after year.

A new addition to Merchiston - this young bull really caught our eye and has been one of our favourites of our trip

Day 2 Part #2

And just like that we were off again for our next destination, an hour and a half drive north west to Te Akau. Winding up through the steep countryside, up a questionable gravel track, we arrived at Twin Oaks Angus. Owned by Rodger and Susan Haywood, a young couple with an infectious passion and drive not only for the Angus breed but for farming as well. We instantly felt welcomed and at home and it wasn’t long until we were discussing cattle. Before we got too carried away and while there was a break in the weather we heading outside into the freezing wind! We viewed some yearling bulls that were catalogued in their upcoming Yearling sale. Included in the draft were bulls with a blend of Australian, New Zealand and American genetics. The bulls presented as a great modern type with a balance of performance, phenotype and temperament. Next headed deeper back into the hills to view some freshly calved cows, with white knuckles and a brave face we went where I wasn’t sure side by side buggy’s could go. Reflecting what we saw in the yearling bulls were a set of cows that were modern beautiful type, broody females. After a tour around a bit more of the farm we were forced for shelter for a quick tour through the sale barn when yet another weather front passed through (gosh it can rain over here!) 
We were lucky enough to be staying the night and the cattle, farming, cattle, politics, cattle, travel, cattle ect conversation flowed on through the night.

We had enjoyed ourselves so much at Twin Oaks and cannot thank Rodger and Susan enough for having us, it is more than well worth the visit if you are ever over in NZ. 
Beautiful Twin Oaks country

Friendly Yearlings

SAV International Yearling

Day 2

Today we travelled out to Hingaia Angus about an hours drive south of Hamilton in the northern king country. Owned by Richard Jolly the stud was established in 1934, the property is a 400 hectares and the stud has approximately 200 breeding females, selling 60 bulls privately a year. It was nice driving through the first sunshine we had seen since arriving, although it was very wet underfoot.
We were able to view some yearling bulls that were sired by both US and NZ AI bulls, and some herd females with baby calves at foot including some fresh calves by the Australian high seller Millah Murrah Kingdom, who was sired by the Hingaia bred bull 469. We were limited to what we were able to view due to the amount of rain they had had that morning, and even found ourselves bogged in Richards Jeep a few times! We enjoyed a in-depth chat with Richard about his breeding objectives and getting his over view of Angus in New Zealand, technology and the future of the breed.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Day 1
We arrived in Auckland yesterday and travelled 4 hours north to the Northlands region. The country we travelled through was very coastal that was undulating to moderately steep, with the majority of cattle spotted to be dairy. Beautiful views of the coast were spotted along the way.
Our destination was Matauri Angus, the home of the very widely used Matauri Reality 839.  The stud was established in 1945 and is owned and managed by Colin Maxwell. Situated just a short drive from its namesake Matauri Bay, the stud is ran on two blocks compromising of the home farm of 400ac, which is essentially the bull block, and is gentle undulating with improved pastures boasting a 85" rainfall (We thought our 20-22" rainfall was reasonable!) and another 1000ac of steep hill country 40km away where the cows are kept.
The herd consists of 400 cows and sold 89 Bulls at its 2017 sale.
Visiting Matauri was well worth the drive north, we were able to see two of the bulls that make up the studs AI team along with weaner bulls & heifers, 2yr old females on the point of calving and a pair of up and coming 2yr old bulls that had been used in stud.
We found that we had a simular breeding objecting with Phenotype and structure being ranked higher than EBV's, with a balance of all three with minimal compromise being the key. We really enjoyed our time at Matauri, conversation was free flowing and although the weather limited us to the cattle we could view what we saw impressed us.
Matauri Cikey G244 - a 839 son

2yr Old Matauri Resolution F030 son - Kept for herd use

Weaner Bull
Matauri Bay - 5 minutes drive from property 
Colin Maxwell & Myself

Day 9 After a few days off, we sort of we still did a bit of driving to get to our next destination, we headed out to Rockley Farms owned...