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Bull sales on target to match last year

Set to inject millions into local economy

Strong inquiry from around the country points to this year's bull sale season being on a par with last year, when more than $5.4 million was pumped into the local economy.

Buyers from outside Tairawhiti have indicated they are keen to use the bull sales week, set to start on Monday, June 22, as an opportunity to get away from home after the lockdown.

Covid-19 appears to have had little impact on the build-up to the season.

This year more than 500 rising two-year-old bulls, more than 400 of them Angus, will change hands across the region.

One of the most respected men in New Zealand's cattle industry, former PGG Wrightson auctioneer and national genetics manager Bruce Orr, said Covid-19 and the dry weather over summer and autumn had not had much of an effect on the build-up to the sales season here.

Stud breeders told The Gisborne Herald their stock had come through the season well and looked in great condition ahead of the sales.

Bull sales in other parts of New Zealand pointed to a strong season.

Mr Orr said the sales season elsewhere had been as good as last year in a lot of cases.

“There is strong inquiry for good types of bulls and I expect there will be a good turnout of buyers for the Gisborne sales.

“A lot of people in other places have said to me they will use the opportunity to get away from home after the lockdown period, and sales week in Gisborne has a lot of appeal.”

The Angus sales begin on Monday, June 22, starting three days of hectic bidding and counter-bidding for the black cattle, most in the on-farm sales rostrums from Turiroa Angus near Wairoa to Ratanui Angus near Tolaga Bay.

Three studs will take part in the combined sale at Matawhero Saleyards.

Mokairau and Wilencote Hereford studs will sell their bulls on the Thursday of Bull Week as usual.

Hain Hereford have opted to sell by “private treaty” this year.

Kerrah Simmentals held their sale last month.

They sold 80 out of 84 bulls at an average of $7600 and a top price of $18,000. Both figures were up on last year.

The region's Angus studs were forced to postpone their annual Bull Walk during the Level 4 lockdown, and under Alert Level 3 there were concerns their sales season might have to be shifted to late July.

But under Alert Level 2 and with the maximum gathering size lifted to 100 people, the studs intend to proceed as usual in June.

They rescheduled the Bull Walk to this Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, and prospective buyers will be here for a look at this year's offering.

Mr Orr said last year's great sales result here was a “huge confirmation, a further tick of approval from the rest of New Zealand and for the continued quality of Gisborne beef genetics, irrespective of breeds”.

Mr Orr expects to see that continue and the main auctioneer for this year's sale, Neville Clark from Carrfields Livestock. agrees.

“I think it's going to be a very positive sales period.

“Once again the East Coast cattle will come to the fore.”

He pointed to the diversity of breeds and prices.

“There will be a bull for everyone and they will be value for money — better value than in a lot of other places around the country.”

The sales will generate major economic benefit, not just in terms of the actual sale of the bulls, but in the money spent in the community by the many buyers and supporters who come from around the country.

The 2019 bull sales season injected more than $5.4 million into the Tairawhiti economy.

A large chunk of the 2019 earnings, more than $4 million, came from the Angus sales, with the rest contributed by Gisborne Hereford studs and the Simmental Stud at Whakaki.

The 2019 sales season was described as a resounding success, highlighted by a New Zealand high price for an Angus bull from Tangihau Angus at Rere, and the same stud achieving an Australasian Angus record average for animals sold at auction.

LAST YEAR'S BEST: In 2019, the top-selling bull sold at the Tangihau Bull Sale for $86,000. File picture by Paul Rickard