In November I began my tour of New Zealand on the Trans-Tasman Exchange. I started in the South Island with Grampians Angus. Seeing their gorgeous deep and thick cattle on very difficult hill country and being welcomed by Sarah, Jono and little Hank Reed made me excited for what was to come in the following weeks. After a quick visit to the beautiful Te Mania property to have a look through the yearling bulls and females (as we moved them alongside the beach) I moved onto Twin Oaks Angus. I got a quick tour around the yearling bulls and cows and calves amidst the packing for the Canterbury A&P show. I appreciated the way the type and structure of these cattle complemented the emphasis placed on carcass traits. We made the trek up to Christchurch on the Monday with seven head of cattle for the show.
I had a great time over the next five days camping with Roger and Susan and their team of five kids on the grounds. It was great to meet other youth involved with Angus and see the kids getting involved through the youth competitions.
I remained around Christchurch for the next two weeks to complete a University placement at a veterinary clinic. During this time I spent a few nights with Marie Timperley to have a look through the Timperlea Angus breeding herd and was welcomed at social events with the young farmers group in that region.
Before heading off to the north island, I made a quick visit to Kakahu Angus to help out with their AI program and was taken for a fantastic look around Stern Angus, seeing the ageing Braveheart of Stern.
I started my North Island part of the trip at Waiterenui Angus. I admired the focus on maternal traits in their herd and it was a privilege to see the stud during their 100th year. Motere Angus was next. I found gaining an understanding of their program, particularly in their mating, really interesting.
I then moved up to Gisborne where I stayed a number of nights with the Crawshaws who have Kenhardt Angus. It was here that I saw some of my first purebred New Zealand Angus genetics and the resilience of the cow herd that are pushed to perform. I took day trips from here to visit Kaharau and Turihau Angus to see some more beautiful well established New Zealand Angus genetics on picturesque properties, as well as a tour through the abattoir in Gisborne. They were having a fantastic season up in that region which made for beautiful scenery and cattle in great condition expressing their genetic potential.
My final two studs were Atahua and Merchiston Angus where I continued to have huge admiration for more beautiful, powerful females. I also continued learning, being introduced to the concept of a satellite herd.
After a whirlwind seven weeks visiting twelve studs across a large portion of the country, it is safe to say I learnt an incredible amount about the industry in New Zealand, saw some amazing cattle and met a large number of fantastic, kind people. It was the perfect time of year to be visiting the studs, seeing yearling bulls and cows with calves at foot at joining. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Angus Australia, Angus Youth Australia, NZ Angus and Generation Angus for providing me such a fantastic and rewarding opportunity and everyone who hosted and helped me whilst on my travels.
2015 Trans-Tasman Exchange Recipient