Salers Society – Spring News 2021

Spring News 2021

At last I have some ducks-in-a-row to get a long overdue Newsletter under way.. Lockdown should make it easy to fit in, with a lot of clutter taken out of our weeks – but we end up quickly refocusing on the farm stuff.

I’m getting a jump on the spring weeding, the pasture is tidy after 32 years, but we have – bamboo on one boundary (a great shelter belt for the neighbour… weedy pest on our side of the fence!) The unlovely flannelweed – not a problem further south, but an ugly fast-growing spreader north of Taupo.. it loves our QE2 Covenant – the bush margins, and riparian areas, as does a regular winner of “weed of the year” tradescantia… We have had a more normal winter rainfall after two years of below average falls – so some paddock pugging. The storm event north of Auckland, apart from causing flooding dramas (some great horse rescue stories made the TV news!) has finally filled the water storage dams for the city of Auckland. Our calving and lambing have gone extra well, once again a big imbalance bulls-to-heifers in the Salers group.

No photos of our very enjoyable Fielding based Manawatu Tour, so I will try and cover the highlights with words! The visit to the Tararua Breeding Centre was great, covering semen collection, treatment and storage, checking out the sperm health and identifying abnormalities… The team there have developed simple methods of collecting from stud bulls in good stockyards on – farm, saving livestock travel, stress, and disease exposure. No surprises that the Speckle Park is the no.1 breed for semen supply at the moment. Lunch was booked at the historic Mangatainoka Tui Brewery, with a tour of the buildings and brewhouse… most interesting fact – the original tower, built 1886, was somehow built without any internal stairs… eventually added externally… There were some great bargains at the tourist shop there, T-shirts are always a handy gift!

Weta sculpture @ Pukaha Mt Bruce

Next stop.. the Pukaha /Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre, with another great retail therapy/gift buying opportunity… and a tour, firstly of the static displays inside; then self guided walks around part of the 942 hectare mature bush reserve.

Originally successful in reproducing the very rare takahe, the kiwi is now the main species hatching there, plus whio, kakariki, and the endangered shore plover; the kaka, kokako and brown kiwi have successfully been reintroduced to the area, and some could be seen in the aviaries in the bush area. The stream contained some very large, very tame eels which are always great to see. Day 2 provided another educational morning, with the Golf Club hosting the Beef and Lamb workshop (with a goodie bag each). Next stop – a flying visit to the Gerke home farm, viewing the Salers herd; then on to lunch at the newly famous Apiti Tavern, owned/managed by Jon James, award winning slow pit BBQ chef.. On to Pohangina with the chance to see some of the Cameron family’s Angus cows (and, some Salers!) Next – the AGM quickly run through at the Motel; the tour was rounded off with a meal at Murrays’ Irish Bar.

Once again, it was great to catch up with everyone – a big thank you to our Manawatu team, Gerkes and Camerons for setting up another interesting and varied tour – Covid permitting, we might be heading North in 2022.

Thanks to EVERYBODY who have paid annual fees online, we’re now right up to date which is great. I have caught up with John Druce, now living in the Kaimais – Johns’ new email is A reminder-Mike and Cushlas’ new address – 61 Scarlys’ Way Okitu GISBORNE 4010.