The energy building among the young people in the lead-up to the Autumn Harvest Sale in New Zealand next week has already proven to sale organisers that they did the right thing by instigating it.
Up to 60 live lots and embryos of all breeds will sell in an evening sale run by Australian-born Dean Malcolm, formerly of Bluechip Genetics, and his team at the exclusive Cambridge Raceway in New Zealand’s North Island on April 22.
When it comes to registered cattle in the southern hemisphere Australia has enjoyed the bigger profile internationally. However, New Zealand is potentially a sleeping giant. With 11,000 dairy herds [Australia 5700], five million cows [Australia 1.5million], and an economy that depends on dairy – there is room to add value through genetics.
Dean settled in New Zealand two years ago, and he says there are plenty of great cattle and new families that haven’t yet been truly tapped in New Zealand. Dean was the catalyst who added the early profile to the “Bonnie” family in Australia through Fairvale Jed Bonnie 94. She was later bought by Leslie Farms and Fraeland Holsteins [Canada]. The Bonnies are now comfortably established and performing at Fraeland Holsteins [Canada] and Duckett Holsteins [USA], among others.
DAUGHTER FERTILITY STRONG IN NZ
One thing Dean has noticed in New Zealand, is its relentless work on fertility because of its largely seasonal production [most of the country’s cows are dry from May to July and they calve every year].
“New Zealanders are so focussed on fertility because of their mostly seasonal focus, and they have been like that forever,” Dean said. “They are one of the few countries in the world to do it to that level, and their results for fertility blow me away.
“New Zealand has also got such a natural climate for dairy, there are so many young breeders here who are keen, there are great cows here, and the milk price is tremendous with a decent long term prediction that it’s not going to change anytime soon.”
COVID IMPACT HATCHED BOLD PLAN
New Zealand traversed Covid-19 by locking down its borders early. It meant that within the country, it has been business as usual with no tough restrictions. Its death toll sits at 26.
Usually a lockdown in New Zealand would have meant a slowing for any marketing by registered breeders because cattle photographers have generally come from Australia, and no-one has been allowed to visit New Zealand unless they quarantine in designated hotels for two weeks at their own cost to the tune of NZ$3000.
However, with Dean now residing in New Zealand cattle photography continued unabated. With his capability to manage and run profile sales it didn’t take long for a bold plan to be hatched.
Dean assembled a team to pull the Autumn Harvest sale together.
“We’re using all independent guys that have been in this industry all their lives. They are well-travelled and well-respected all over the world, and they understand the industry. You don’t historically see the guys like this in these kinds of roles, so I’m excited about that,” Dean said.
“Honestly, there has been so much support that it’s been energising at all levels. We’ve started something in New Zealand, which is a little different to this country and the industry has embraced it.
“As we’ve progressed through the process we have created enough interest that we have now enquiry from outside the registered sector here.
“We’ve run enough sales to know that enquiry doesn’t necessary mean a sale, but it does bring hype, and that’s not a bad thing for anyone.”
One of the country’s stalwarts within the New Zealand industry, Duncan Pipe, who has been working alongside Dean since the start said that in all his years of championing registered cattle in New Zealand, he’d never experienced such universal excitement.
“I think it’s because we have included all the breeds which makes it feeling like we’re bringing a family of registered breeders together in New Zealand,” Duncan said. “It’s without question the most exciting sale I’ve ever been involved with in this country.
“Every animal has a story behind it which involves a lot of passionate people, and it’s been a real privilege to be a part of it.”
GLOBAL INDUSTRY WATCHING
Dean Malcolm said he expects the global industry will be watching.
“I think it’s important to note that there are cow families that are just as good in New Zealand as internationally. And, with the power of marketing and promotion, we can shine a light on all these individuals.
“We have some amazing in-calf heifers in the Jerseys and both of the Junior Champions from two of the country’s biggest shows in the last 12 months.
“And, these individuals are out of world-class cow families – the Duncan Belles and the Veronicas. It doesn’t get much better than that. To also include the full sister to the overall champion of the New Zealand On-Farm Challenge from Ferdon Genetics is a super opportunity for buyers. She looks very much like her full sister at the same age.”
One highlighted lot which blends the best of two hemispheres will be a package of sexed Ferdinand embryos from a famous Crome daughter in the world right now – Kevetta Chrome Violin VG89-2yrs. Offered by Lightning Ridge, Australia, the package includes the high impact Huronia Centurion Veronica (USA) on the bottom side of the pedigree, and the world-class Fernleaf family (Bushlea Jerseys, in Australia) on the top side.
BW IS “NOT WHAT THIS SALE IS ABOUT”
New Zealand has often struggled in international conversations about genetics largely because of its focus on Breeding Worth (BW). Dean says it is no accident there is no high Breeding Worth (BW) cattle listed in the catalogue, because the New Zealand index – unlike genomics – is not recognised internationally. It makes it a limited yardstick from his perspective.
“I’m not saying BW is wrong. It’s just not our market. And, when we talk about type, we’re talking about functional type, and that’s what the world wants. We want a beautiful, functional dairy cow which will last for a long time.
“And, there is no shame in getting up and milking beautiful cows.
“If we’re talking index for this sale, we’ll be talking genomics, because it is a world-recognised and independent standard.”
FOCUSSED ON FUNCTION
He says the focus for the Autumn Harvest Sale has been on cow families, high profile international sires, genomics, and performance.
“I’ve travelled the country to see and/or picture every live animal that will sell, and the type and functionality in these animals is amazing,” Dean said.
There are two online selling mediums involved – Australia’s Elite Livestock Auctions [elitelivestockauctions.com.au] – and, NZ Farmers Livestock [mylivestock.co.nz – and click on ‘live auction’].
“We have a recognised platform from Australia that I’ve used for our own sales, and we are also aligning ourselves with NZ Farmers Livestock. They have been really great to deal with, and we look forward to moving forward with them on other projects.”
NZ Farmers Livestock’s General Manager Bill Sweeney says they were happy to help.
“We always talk about adding value for our clients, and everybody has different requirements,” Bills said. “Here is a great opportunity for vendors or purchasers to add value to their business, if they are interested.”
YOUNG PEOPLE THE GOAL
And, at the heart of the initiative is the passion coming forward from the next generation.
“What’s really struck me is the excitement among the young people who want to be there, and who want to be involved. It’s great for New Zealand’s future.
“We’ve deliberately planned for it to be held in the school holidays, and we have a lot of youth coming to help. We’re catering for everyone interested in genetics, or making money from genetics.”
For more information, or a copy of the catalogue (which is also available online on the “Autumn Harvest Sale” page on Facebook), please contact Dean Malcolm on 0276 414 102 or email@example.com