Salers Society – Autumn News 2022

First off – thanks to Christine Cameron, we can start off with a selection of photos from the 2021 Manawatu Tour – great memories!

We are still waiting, waiting for autumn rain here… but Northland had a good 90mls before our visit, so we saw some enviable autumn feed – especially on the Woolley / Pacey farms.

The 2022 Tour had so many highlights it’s hard to make sure they’re all included. Wellsford – mostly a conduit for the ever-busy State Highway 1 – was our base. Retail therapy at Morris & James pottery was the first stop; the café there was a Covid victim – still closed – so we had to get our caffeine fix at the Sculptureum, handily just a few minutes bus ride from the pottery… Plenty of interest here, with the Sculpture Walks very compact, and two great indoor galleries, housing quirky art, collected from all over the world, well displayed. Lunch here was uninspiring, but it sustained us through two stud visits – firstly, the Collins’ Shorthorn Stud, plenty of great rye pasture on this ex-dairy farm. Quality red, white, and roan cows, a group of autumn calvers with calves at foot, and two roan bulls on view here.

On to Galloway cattle stud, where we saw white, riggit, and black Galloways – plus a couple of red polled Sussex cows, which had sneaked into the herd… The Galloway Society are hosting their first online Bull Sale – they are marketing to the first-calving dairy heifer market, with low birthweight calves a proven advantage. On to our last call of the day – the Woolley /Pacey Willow Creek farm. Afternoon tea, then the farm tour. Covid dictated a no-show season, so the focus has been farm projects – with two new properties being brought up to speed, milking a dairy herd for an 800 calf-rearing operation, no shortage of stuff to do….. Firstly, on the home farm, the welcome sight of the Salers herd – plus a couple of Simmental cows, all looking in tip top order. Next, the dairy herd, supplement fed ,looking great, with great production figures. Then, groups of weaner bulls, dairy and dairy-beef, sprinkled through the paddocks, growing fast so they only run through one winter. On to the new farms, already growing good pasture, a sprinkling of store lambs munching fresh new pasture; the mob of Salers weaned bulls finishing the farm tour… The AGM (see minutes, attached) was next… thanks to all who attended, thanks to the Willow Creek team, the best number of attendees for some years! Sheryl and her team put on a fabulous roast meal, and, thanks to Michaela, a beautiful red Salers cake for dessert.

Willow Creek Salers and friends

Day 2 – on to Matakohe Museum with the luxury of 2 ½ hours to browse, shop and enjoy the delightful café, with great coffee (more to our taste that Freddies, sorry Scultptureum). On to Lockwood Smiths’ Belgian Blue stud, where we caught up with Karen, Sarah and our host, Lockwood, who took us through his thirty years of farming Belgian Blue cattle – starting with the family’s’ Angus, Fresian Angus genetics, adding Belgian Blue lines, selecting hard for lower birthweights, natural non-assisted births, and polled animals. The European breed has become very heavily muscled, with poor movement, and a very high rate of Caesarian section births; so Lockwood has followed a programme to produce a practical cattle breed, adapted to New Zealand’s pasture-based living-out conditions. He has been rewarded with contracts to supply semen from lower birthweight, short gestation sires to Semex and L.I.C., plus the satisfaction of achieving his aims with the Belgian Blue breed. We also had insights into Lockwoods’ ambassadorial roles in London, his advocacy for New Zealand’s’ trade agreements with the post-EEC UK, and his science-based opinions on the methane / CO2 debates round pastoral ruminant animal farming .We viewed the stud bulls, conveniently being brought in for TB testing… they were impressively free-moving.

Karen guided us to our last cattle stud – Below Sea Level Speckle Park – before whizzing off to milk her cows. Jan Bellamy took us to view the cows with calves at foot – very well behaved as they restricted themselves to glowering at the cheeky foxie who accompanied us. Jan and John Bellamy, as well as milking 600 cows, have been one of the pioneers founding the Canadian Speckle Park breed in New Zealand. Importing heifers, embryos and semen, building a herd up to 200 animals, showing and promoting. The breed has made an excellent start, with the dairy industry using a lot of semen – as long as the semen is sourced from white-with-black-points bulls, the dairy cross calves are well marked and sell well to rearers, and plenty of Speckled animals are seen grazing around the country.. Showies have enjoyed the more flashily marked stock, and they look suitably meaty too… We were delighted to depart with Speckle park pens, hats, and coffee mugs, its’ usually us doling out Salers hats!

Speckle Park cows and Calves at Jan and John Bellamys’Below Sea Level Stud, Ruawai

Day 3 – was an add-on “we are so close to Whangarei, we must get to the  (recently opened) Hundertwasser Gallery”… just five of us left on tour, but we had a great day. We easily spent over 3 hours at the Hundertwasser, with a raised roof garden – mostly rare coastal native plants a gallery of Hundertwassers’ work, with his life story woven through; a Maori art gallery; retail therapy (bone china coffee mugs with Hundertwasser prints at $150.00……) And, a very good café / restaurant with sensibly priced, very good food. The whole town basin area has been revamped, with children’s playgrounds, a pedestrian-only bridge, a steam punk installation, footpaths… all in all, a great end to the Tour 2022. Our patient bus driver Ray was actually delighted to receive a Salers hat – he collects hats! A huge thank-you to Karen and the whole Willow Creek team for setting up a fab weekend, and hosting us with the usual hospitality!ght in for TB testing… they were impressively free-moving.


Last words…

Thanks to Rebecca Glover, Simmental breeder, for being our official photographer on tour!
Housekeeping… In, myself, John and Maxine, spent 1hour, 15 minutes at the ANZ Bank, Pukekohe sorting out – Two signatories off; one new signatory, on; set up internet banking; payment of outstanding accounts… Thanks John and Maxine for diverting from their homeward journey to fulfil this task! Thanks to all Tourists for paying registration fees in full…

Also thanks to Amanda Gerke for taking on the task of updating Facebook and Website stuff… Please send any photos, news, requests to Amanda c/o

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