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South Devon Newsletter, April 2010, issue 46

Contents of this issue:

  1. President's Message
  2. Board of management business
  3. Otago/Southland Tour 2010
  4. South Devon Show Results
  5. Hoskins’ heifer wins on hooks at Dannevirke

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Our 2010 Conference (40th Anniversary) AGM and Tour was a great success with 26 members attending who enjoyed farm visits and sightseeing throughout Otago and Southland, members also enjoyed talking about the cattle and about the Society from its first inception to where we are heading the future.

I would like to thank Fraser McKenzie and Arnold van Asch (the two retiring board members) for their contribution to the Society; it has been very much appreciated by all. I would also like to welcome Fraser Wilson and Gavin Osborne to the Board. Peter Foss has indicated this will be his last year on the Board due to family commitments and his commitment to the PBB Board.

The Steak of Origin semi-finalists have just been announced and it was most pleasing to see four of our South Devon animals have been selected in the Best of British section, congratulations goes to John Holt with two animals, Phil Hoskin and Lanise & Phil Robertson.

The Beef Expo is all but upon us again this year, we have five good quality Bulls entered and I wish the breeders every success at this sale, and hope the dry conditions won’t have too much of an effect on it.
Congratulations to James Donaldson on his win at the regional level and who now goes on to the final of The National Bank Young Farmer of the Year held at Gore in July. We wish you all the best.

Finally please feel free to contact myself or any board members to discuss any concerns you may have, we also welcome any positive thoughts or ideas on how we can improve our Society.

Brian Thomson

Herd Book

The last two editions of the herd book have been proofed and are ready to go to print (probably after Beef Expo once bull sale catalogues are done). It is questionable whether we should continue to print a Herd Book given that all the same information can be found on “Internet Solutions”. We pay $670 a year to maintain Internet Solutions and the last Herd Book printed (a triple edition) cost $975. Could this money be spent elsewhere? The Board does appreciate that not everyone has a computer or can use one. It was also brought up at the AGM that the Herd Book entries still need to be scrutinized regardless of whether we print a Herd Book or not. It is planned that members will vote on this issue at next years AGM. Murray Meads reported that South Devon was the only breed to still print a herd book.


The Board of Management have decided to make it compulsory for all joining sires for the 2010 mating season to have been DNA tested i.e. All 2011 born calves would have had their sires DNA tested. The DNA test is for pedigree only and would cost $25 per sample. It is felt this is necessary for accuracy. The experience of Angus, Hereford, Simmental and Charolais is for a 10-15% error rate to show once DNA testing is adopted.

Presidents Trophy

The Presidents Trophy was presented to Mick and Lesleigh Allan for their strong support of the breed over many years.

RAS – Royal Show Trophies

The Royal Ag trophies were presented to the van Asch family

Bull Trial 2010-2011

The Board of Management have discussed a possible grazing farm option in the Manawatu to get the Bull Trial up and running again for next year. An early spring intake has been also discussed. More information will be available at a later date.

Fraser McKenzie, Past President

Report by Phil Hoskin

The tour effectively started with dinner on Sunday 28th March to bring together those arriving from various parts of the country. Next morning we boarded the bus to take us to Fraser & Barbara Wilson’s Mount Royal Stud. The cattle looked in good condition despite the dry. For those with a sense of history it was good to see what may be the last Clover Downs bull – Horatio with high figures and impressive fleshing. The beautiful mature oaks and homestead provided a lovely background for morning tea.

An interesting diversion off the main road was a drive through Trotters Gorge on the way to Weston for a visit to the Parkside Quarry. Here the Wilson Family produce the only Oamaru Stone currently used for building in addition to agricultural lime and dicalcic phosphate.

Linda Wilson was a very able guide and is obviously a versatile woman in a capable family with a garden and old bowling club grounds used for wedding receptions, where we had lunch and a brief wander.

We then proceeded to Andrew Reid & Penny Lavender’s Pendrew Stud recently started with females from Mount Royal and AI including calves by Sexton Centurion and Edmeston Homer. It is encouraging to see new enthusiastic breeders.

Next stop was historic Totara Estate, the slaughter facility for the first export of frozen meat from New Zealand.

We had a look at Mount Royal two year heifers on the way back and Fraser provided welcome drinks on a hot afternoon.

Another enjoyable excursion off the main road took us along Blueskin Bay and back into Dunedin port, Port Chalmers.

Bulls at Mount Royal


The AGM was largely routine. From a personal perspective, I was happy with more time touring, a full discussion of all items on the same occasion that we’re together and less time on the President’s shout.
It was a superb dinner crowned with seven President’s cutting the 40th Anniversary cake beautifully made and decorated by Ann Thomson. Anyone visiting the Thomson home quickly appreciates that Ann’s talents extend to art also.

The next day started with an early visit to Loch Lomond where the cattle were easily seen in the combined sheep and cattle yards. Several commercial buyers of Loch Lomond bulls turned up and one of them, Barry Gray, was closest to guessing the weight of Loch Lomond Ted, a son of Trewint Henry, who presented himself very well at 1178 kgs.

Anyone too late for breakfast could enjoy more of Ann’s kitchen talents for smoko.

Brian’s commentary lasted until Milton when Geoff McKenzie took over. Bus driver Bill Ross continued to add snippets of information to enlighten us. We headed NW through more country new to me. The stark beauty of the rugged hills contrasted with the fertile valleys with orchards and habitation.

Passing through Lawrence and Roxburgh we stopped for lunch in Alexandra. I always enjoy museums and information centres in order to learn more of an area. We then had a brief look at Earnscleugh Stations mobs of Angus and Composite bulls. We are grateful for Alastair Campbell’s willingness to give up time when calf weaning was in progress and to answer questions. For his country and market he would like to see South Devon’s with low birthweight and earlier maturity. We saw only a glimpse of scale and challenges of farming in this environment.

Water is becoming increasingly important everywhere and the transformation and influence on the countryside and farming practices was emphasised here.

The Clyde dam and its extension back to Cromwell provided more interest and stops including Roaring Meg where kayakers were tackling the white water.

The Tour Group

Suddenly we were pulling into AJ Hacketts bungy jumping from the historic bridge over the Kawarau. No-one from our party seemed game to have a go but it was a novelty watching those braver and generally younger! Some of the houses approaching Queenstown seemed to be almost competing for size and grandeur.

Frankton Motor Lodge provided a welcome rest spot and meal for the night before the morning shuttle into Queenstown. A brief walk around town preceded a trip on the Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. The Earnslaw was launched the same year as the Titanic and has certainly proved more durable! Walter Peak house, restaurant and grounds were most impressive as was the drive towards Mavora Lakes for lunch at the Gunn property put on by the Key School PTA.

Unfortunately the cattle were too far away for us to see in the timeframe so we proceeded to Wainuka where the cattle were all in convenient mobs. They are a real credit to Fraser’s breeding policies and love and knowledge of his cattle. The standard of stock by Homebred, Loch Lomond and Okaharau bulls was what we have come to expect.

Sandra, with help from Gayle, had done a great job in the kitchen. This writer had not enough time to sample it all before departing with son Steve for Tuatapere and the Hump track, but not before the group photo.

The evening meal was at the RSA in Gore before a 10.00pm arrival back in Dunedin.

It was an extremely varied and enjoyable three days with time to mix and mingle with those we seldom see. Thank you to the organisers and hosts for a job well done.

Heifer’s at Wainuka Stud

January Otago/Taieri 150th Anniversary show

(45 entries)

Heifer calf:               Loch Lomond Kirsty Billie           2nd

Bull calf:                   Loch Lomond Bill                           1st

Yearling heifer:       Loch Lomond Fanny                     1st
                                  Loch Lomond Coral                       4th

Yearling bull:           Loch Lomond Rick                       1st

2 year heifer with calf at foot:
                                  Floss                                                 1st

Senior cow with calf at foot:
                                  Kirsty                                                1st

Senior Bull:              Loch Lomond Ted                        1st

Supreme Champion:
                                 Loch Lomond Ted

February Gore A&P Show

(51 entries)

Heifer calf                                           Loch Lomond Kirsty Billie         5th

Yearling heifer calf                           Loch Lomond Fanny                  2nd

Senior cow with calf at foot            Kirsty                                            2nd

Senior Bull                                           Loch Lomond Ted                     2nd

MV Dickie Trophy Reserve Champion animal
                                                                Loch Lomond Kirsty


March Upper Clutha A & P show (Wanaka)

(64 entries)

Heifer calf                                            Loch Lomond Gemz                  1st
Senior Cow with calf at foot
                                                               Loch Lomond Kirsty                  2nd

Progeny class 2 animals from same sire/dam
                                                               Loch Lomond                              2nd


April Balclutha 2nd calf sale.

6 x Loch Lomond South Devon calves topped the sale weights 320 kg sold for $615.00


At the Dannevirke & District A & P Association’s Annual Centennial Show on the weekend of February 6-7, Pahiatua breeder Phil Hoskin’s entry took out First Prize in Class 302 - Export Steer and Heifer, 245kg to 320kg (lightweight) – with a purebred South Devon heifer.

Born on August 6, 2008, exactly 18 months old on Show Day, this heifer was unplaced on the hoof but excelled on the hooks, most closely matching the export classification criteria and the only one of 36 entered to Grade P1 weighing 480.2kg liveweight, the carcass of 302kg yielding an exceptional 61.6 percent.

Sponsors were PGG Wrightson, Silver Fern Farms, Pohuetai Farms, Mrs Philip, BNZ and Dannevirke Carriers. It is fitting that the cattle competing for the Pacific Freezing Trophy – won by the South Devon heifer – were slaughtered at the Silver Fern Farms Pacific Works in Hastings.