Steady progress at Hereford stud

Physical inspection ... Paul Scott and PGG Wrightson’s Cameron Gray ready for potential buyers....
Physical inspection ... Paul Scott and PGG Wrightson’s Cameron Gray ready for potential buyers. PHOTO: GEORGE CLARK
Paul and Fiona Scott established their Matatoki Hereford stud at the gateway to the Coromandel Peninsula in 2006.

In 2008, the family of five decided to move closer to Mrs Scott’s hometown in South Canterbury and moved with 20 stud cows to Maungati, 32km inland from Timaru.

They have steadily increased their herd numbers to calve 185 registered females along with a commercial crossbred herd of 30.

This year’s South Canterbury bull walk had been much quieter than the last due to Covid-19, with only a handful of people taking part in physical inspection, Mr Scott said.

‘‘We sell our bulls online using Bidr, a PGW initiative set up as a virtual saleyard for trading livestock. Last year we were the first in New Zealand to use that type of format to sell, but this year it seems a lot of people are doing it due to restricted Covid-19 farm activity.’’

Most potential buyers visited the stud individually throughout the week to view the bulls.

‘‘In terms of how we are selling our bulls, it is really no different for us. It was an online sale last year and an online sale this year, people come in prior for a look in one way or another then bid online and partake in the auction just like something on Trade Me.

‘‘For reasons other than Covid-19, it is something we are having a crack at because we are not a big enough stud to hold a big on-farm sale. Those guys that are planning the big sales will be pretty happy we are back at Level 2 now as under level 3 they just would not have been able to do it,’’ he said.

Matatoki Herefords sold most of its bulls to the dairy industry as yearlings, selling six rising 2-year-old bulls last month for an average of $5300 and a top price of $6000 sold to Orari Gorge Station.

While the pandemic might have affected the bull walk, Mr Scott’s day-to-day activities had hardly changed.

‘‘We are a closed herd farm and I work from home, my wife works for Westpac’s agriservices team and that was deemed essential, she had a work bubble even before lockdown. We have had the kids home and they have gone back to school now.’’

‘‘We enjoy the Hereford breeding, we meet a hell of a lot of good people and, in terms of farming, I would not want to be doing anything else. This is what I really enjoy and we will get through Covid-19 and kick on. My cousin is a nurse and I asked her how serious coronavirus was going to be when it broke out. She was extremely worried.’’

He asked how he could help and thought a fundraiser to accompany the sale could be directed towards the nurses association.

‘‘She said St John was the best place to put it. We are donating $100 from every bull sale to South Canterbury St John and implore breeders to do something similar.’’

Mr Scott served on the New Zealand Hereford Association council from 2012 to 2018, which he said was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

In 2017, the Scott family had a highlight, winning the supreme champion Hereford at the New Zealand Beef Expo with their entry Matatoki Oklahoma 1529, which sold to the Capethorne Hereford stud in North Canterbury.

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