Making more money with South Devon

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South Devon Newsletter, June 2016, issue 60

Contents of this issue:

  1. President's Message
  2. Tru-Test Beef Expo 2016
  3. FBNZ Report
  4. Show Results

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This year’s AGM Tour was held during Tru Test Beef Expo 2016 and what an Expo it was for the breed with Burtergill Horace 1413 winning Champion of Champions, the first time for a South Devon in the 27 year history of the event. Loch Lomond Syd Tessannette placed 6th in the Allflex Champion Heifer performance class and a Burtergill bred steer placed first on the hook and second overall in Future Beef’s Light Weight Purebred Steer Competition.

The genetic sales were a success with the four South Devon heifers entered in the Allflex Champion Heifer Class selling exceedingly well. Four of the five bulls offered sold with an average price of just over $5,000, two of them going to stud.

Congratulations to all members who exhibited stock. I appreciate their commitment and dedication in showcasing the breed. I must make special mention of John Holt who at 82 years of age halter trained a R2 bull for the event. There is no more graphic illustration of commitment and dedication, and with no disrespect to John, no better testament to the docility of the breed!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors of Beef Expo - NZ Agri, Pivot Design, Silver Fern Farms and Merial Ancare. Their generous donations of product were greatly appreciated by our members. I would also like to thank our judge, John Hayward from Judge Dairys in Te Awamutu. You may ask why a dairy farmer as a judge? John is no stranger to the beef industry being brought up on a stud farm and working for many years as a professional fitter in the industry in Australia.

The AGM was held at the PBBNZ Office and was well attended; I was informed by two Past Presidents that the meeting was conducted in record time. Fraser Wilson retired from the Board after six years of invaluable work. He has been replaced by Bridget Lowry, one of our newest breeders, whom I would like to welcome to the Society. Bridget brings experience from other Breed Societies and a passion for promotion.

The Breed Dinner and Awards Ceremony were held in Feilding at Amayjen Restaurant. John Holt was awarded a Life Membership to the South Devon Cattle Society but unfortunately unaware of the award he had retired early so was presented his certificate the following day. John's Life Membership recognises forty three years of breeding and promoting South Devons in New Zealand. Fraser Wilson was awarded the President's Trophy for his conscientious work during his time on the Board of Management.

As I write this President's Message we are well through another bull sale season. All the South Devon on farm sales have being completed and most other breeds are in a similar position.

A casual glance at the daily, sometimes twice daily, sale results from around the country emailed or text through by the various agents, suggest there has been a significant swing away from Angus sires. My observation was endorsed while speaking to a very experienced and well travelled stock and station agent recently. His sentiments were the tide is turning, marketing had done a great job for the Angus breed but the animals had failed to keep pace with the hype.

The commercial beef farmer was now looking for an alternative. They want to put extra weight and growth in their weaner calf of finished carcass in the shortest time frame possible and they are finally being paid well for achieving it. This presents the South Devon Breed with an incredible opportunity! We know, as breeders, we have a great product. It is now up to each individual breeder to promote it! The Expo successes are a great start, it has got the Breed national media attention. Bridget is absolutely passionate about promotion and is just waiting for material to load onto the Breed Society's Website or Face Book page. These mediums are free to you and global but in order for them to be effective it needs to current and frequent. We nearly all carry phones nowadays so lets get her some photos, send her some kill sheets, talk up your, or your clients, successes at weaner fairs. Be proactive, promote yourself and the breed!

"In order to succeed we must first believe that we can" - Nikos Kazantzakis.

I wish all members the best with calving and look forward to receiving any feedback, ideas or suggestions.

Kind regards,
Richard van Asch