Making more money with South Devon

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South Devon Newsletter, July 2009, issue 44

Contents of this issue:

  1. Northland Tour AGM Report
  2. Frazer Wilson
  3. Meat & Wool NZ Beef Expo 2009 Champion


An early morning start on the 17th March 2009 was the beginning of our tour with all members seated on the bus by 8am.

Our first stop was with the Donaldson Family, on arrival we had a short walk to view the cows and calves, and they were a very even line of cattle too with some outstanding calves including one very friendly pet sheep that seemed to think he belonged to the Pohunui Stream Stud.

While having a lovely morning tea we took in the amazing scenic view from the house, we then boarded the bus and it was off to Kevin McConnell’s Matai Stud. His cattle were nice and handy in a roadside paddock behind hot wires, we were all very interested in viewing Westhams Standout as he is the sire of the last two Expo champions, he has definitely stamped his breeding on his progeny as we saw in the heifers and R2 bulls.

Some of the tour group were given an opportunity to view Kevin’s neighbours beautiful well established garden with a wide variety of plants including a beautiful Lilly pond. The tour group enjoyed a finger food lunch at Kevin’s accompanied by a most placid bull, tied up to a tree in his backyard, who hardly flickered an eye lid even though people were going up to him for a closer look.

We then went on to the new leased block of James Donaldson and family where they were running their heifers and R2 bulls, a very even line with some showing they may well be real potential stud sires.

On the road again heading to Brian and Carolyn Sharp’s Appian Way Stud where we were greeted with a very tidy entrance large but beautifully kept lawns and garden. Brian had the stud bulls in the yards as well as the R2 bulls they were very even and well grown. We viewed the cows and calves on our way over to the house for afternoon tea and there were some very nice combinations of cows and calves. Brian had arranged a competition with his 4 yearling heifers and there was a lot of debate and discussion but after the results were all in and points counted up it looked like our President Fraser McKenzie walked off with the prize of a bottle of wine under his arm.

The conference dinner was held in the evening which was enjoyed by all who attended.

Wednesday morning we departed Settlers Hotel and headed west this time through a lot of road works and fog to the Owairangi and Morscombe Stud owned by Pam and Eric Morshead. We were greeted by Pam who gave out pamphlets with a description of their property and cattle. Again their cattle were in excellent condition considering there was a lack of feed about in the early summer. The temperament of the cows and calves was true to their breed and there were many outstanding individual animals. We had a lovely morning tea in the garage where we viewed photos of cattle and took in another awesome scenic view.

We travelled on to visit the Nelson’s Kaihu Kauri Art & Crafts giving members the opportunity of viewing or purchasing products made from Kauri. After that we went to a local hotel where we ate our packed lunch, then it was back on the bus travelling through the forest. We stopped and had a 20 minute walk to visit the Four Sisters (four Kauri trees clustered together) then back on the bus we travelled further through the forest and had another short walk to the mother of all the Kauri trees - the Tane Mahuta which was a truly wonderful experience - the word ‘huge’ comes to mind. We carried on until we came out from the forest and the bus stopped at the top of the hill where we took in the most breathtaking view of the Hokianga Harbour with the sun beaming down on the water and the steep white sand slopes on the other side. We followed the coastline around to Oponui to see the Triben Stud belonging to the Carter family, for us flat land farmers it looked like a rather big challenge. The bulls were of a very even line but were showing some effects from being taken away from the cows. The cows and calves were on hilly terrain behind the cow byre. You could tell these animals were not pampered and made to work for their keep but at the same time they looked in good condition with the calves looking very healthy. We had a lovely afternoon tea on the veranda and backyard with once again the most wonderful scenic view overlooking the Harbour. On the bus again we headed back to Whangarei.

Thursday morning there were a lot of farewells as members all headed in there different directions. 8 members decided to stay on and take up the option to go out on a fishing trip and also to see the Poor Nights, a cluster of rocks out in the ocean. It was an amazing trip going through holes in the rocks and entering a cave to see fish swimming around and also viewing a small cave high on the rock face where there once was a Maori burial ground. We headed back towards the shore and stopped several times trying our luck at catching snapper, although we had lots of fishy stories to tell like ‘the big one that got away’ and ‘who sat in the fish bait’, etc we came away with 8 snapper between us with a lot more than that having to be returned to the sea as they were undersize. Our big day out ended when Kevin McConnell kindly taxied us back to Whangarei.

A very big thank you goes out to the Northland breeders for hosting Conference 2009,we met many nice friendly people with similar interests; we were well fed; saw heaps of good quality cattle and took in the most amazing scenic views and attractions.

A truly wonderful experience.



Fraser & Barbara Wilson (Mt Royal South Devons) were lucky enough to spend May in Britain (one day of rain!). The highlight of their trip was a week spent in Devon and Cornwall viewing cattle and beautiful scenery.

Based at the very hospitable Bed & Breakfast of Mervyn & Stephanie Rowe we travelled to the Devon Country Show where the Rowes and their son Richard had their most successful day ever – winning eleven prizes with their Tregondale South Devons. They had also come second in their National Herd competition 2008, with their very well balanced cattle.

The Devon Country Show is second only in size to the Royal Cornwall Show and is held over three days. The British South Devon scene is seeing a resurgence in the popularity of the breed but like farmers everywhere they have their challenges with bureaucracy and animal health – TB and Blue Tongue.
New Zealand has done a great job in controlling and eliminating TB in cattle in many areas in comparison.

If you are travelling to the UK Cornwall and Devon are a must see for the hospitality, cattle and scenery.

On Sunday 10th May, a Public Open Day was held at the Bull Trial unit in Waituna West to view the sale bulls. Thorough preliminary judging was carried out at this time, with the final judging taking place prior to the sale on Tuesday 12th May at Manfeild Park Stadium in Feilding.

Rob Burrows from Culverden was the Senior Judge and Bill Carter, ‘Triben’ South Devon Stud from Kaikohe was the Associate Judge.

The South Devon sale consisted of 14 bulls from the Fifth Bull Trial and 2 in calf heifers from the Okaharau Stud of Ross & Corrine Kearney.


Supreme Champion


Supreme Champion (Sponsored by Country-Wide)
Lot 6 Matai 07 018 – K J McConnell, Whangarei.

Reserve Champion (Sponsored by PBBnz – Graphics Dept)
Lot 2 Burtergill Anton 703 – AE & RA van Asch, Blenheim.

Third (Sponsored by MerialAncare)
Lot 1 Woodah Titan 7017 – L J Holt, Blenheim.

Fourth (Sponsored by MerialAncare)
Lot 4 Matai 07 006 – K J McConnell

Fifth (Sponsored by MerialAncare)
Lot 7 Okaharau Brook C25 – R & C Kearney, Elsthorpe.


Bulls Sold 11
Average $ 4591
Top Price $ 6000 x 2

Heifers Sold 2
Average $ 1650
Top Price $ 1800
Turnover $ 53800

Three bulls and both heifers were sold for transfer. Eight bulls sold to commercial buyers, plus one sold after the sale. Only two bulls were returned home. This is a pleasing result.

Many thanks to Ross & Corrine Kearney for the generous donation of half the total proceeds of their two heifers to the Society for promotion.



Top Overall Average Daily Weight Gain (1.62kg/day)
(Sponsored by MerialAncare & Allflex)
Lot 6/Trial Tag 10 - Matai 07 018
- K J McConnell, Whangarei

Top Scanning bull (EMA 118)
(Sponsored by Allflex)
Lot 1/Trial Tag 1 - Woodah Titan 7017
- L J Holt, Blenheim

People’s Choice at May Open Day
(Sponsored by Allflex)
First: Woodah Titan 7017
Second: Matai 07 018