The highest selling Hereford bull, ‘Cracker’ [Lot 3], sold for $40,000. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

The smell of burly bulls was strong, and the atmosphere warm and jovial despite the wintry weather at the 75th annual bull sale at Maungahina Stud, just outside Masterton.

Fifth-generation farmer Mark McKenzie said it was a “proud moment” as the stud celebrated the significant milestone of a tradition which started with his grandfather. It’s now the longest running private Hereford sale in the whole of Australasia.

“We are incredibly proud of this line-up of bulls. They are as good as I have ever put up.”

It had been a challenging lead-up to the sale on the back of a countrywide drought and uncertainty relating to the covid-19 lockdown.

“With covid-19, I couldn’t sit back not knowing if we’d have a sale, so we went out an extra month,” McKenzie said. “We wanted a crowd for this sale.”

And a crowd they got, with about 250 people packing into the cattle yards on Thursday afternoon.

Buyers came from around the country as well as just down the road, and the sale was also broadcast live to eight countries.

The highest selling Hereford bull, ‘Cracker’ [Lot 3], sold for $40,000, while the next highest was Speckle Park breed ‘Promise’ [Lot 38] who sold for $35,000.

They sold 27 of 33 Hereford sires with an average of $10,907 and all 17 of the Speckle Park sires for an average of $11,735.

All five semen packages sold, with an average of $2325 per straw, while Lot 55 X5 Maungahina Legacy sold for $5150 per straw and X5 SPKNZ Extreme E27 sell for $3200 per straw.

Mike Butterick opened the sale by paying tribute to fourth-generation farmer and Mark’s dad Bruce McKenzie, who has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the cattle industry.