Proving livestock is in the blood, like any good pedigree
Sam Wright grew up with livestock. His father Dave was and still is a livestock agent, based in Feilding, so as a lad Sam was regularly either at the saleyards or taking phone messages when Dave was out and clients called.
“Being brought up in and around it, I was always interested, always enjoyed livestock, and talking to people. It’s in the blood, like any good pedigree. Callum Stewart’s father trained my dad. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” he says.
After attending Lincoln University, he worked on a large intensive farm out of Bulls for a year, before joining PGG Wrightson in 2010 in Feilding. Following jobs in Rotorua and Waikato, he moved to Hawke’s Bay in 2019.
“Building relationships is huge in our role. Looking after clients and doing the best possible job for them. You ask yourself: ‘What can I do to improve their business?’” he says.
Sam recognises the importance of doing your homework, which flows through into conducting auctions, a part of the business he embraced from the start.
“Although not all the young guys coming through are auctioneers, having begun my career in Feilding, which has such great saleyards, providing such a good opportunity to learn, I really wanted to give it a go. I didn’t have to wait long. My introduction was at a prime sale one day. I was thrown the book, and told ‘Here you go, start selling.’ I didn’t have time to get nervous.
“To be a good auctioneer requires preparation. You have to do the rounds of the stock at least a couple of times. I think through everything I need to say during the auction, and write it out so it rolls off the tongue. Understanding the stock you are selling, studying pedigrees and bloodlines: if you properly know that, the auction takes care of itself. You need all that sorted first, then you go with the flow and respond to the gallery. Like anything else, the more you do it the more comfortable you become with it,” he says.
Sam’s biggest auction so far is the 2020 Te Mania bull sale.
“It was great to go to the South Island, outside my own patch. I was offered the opportunity to split the auction with John McKone. We sold 150 bulls, averaging around $10,000 per animal. It is a big day, well attended and with a high quality catalogue. For the stud it is the highlight of the calendar, so you are really focused on doing the best you can by them. It is an honour to be part of such an important day.
“I also took several of my own clients down to the sale. Combining the commercial side of the business with the genetics can be really useful from their perspective,” he says.
Sam enjoys the balance of commercial livestock and genetics.
“I like the variety of work. No two years are the same with livestock, and while there are definitely challenging aspects from time to time, for example droughts, when you can achieve a good result for your farmers it is a really rewarding job.”
Sam Wright, Sheep & Beef Representative, Hawke’s Bay