Rural Supplies
24 November 2021

Clean sweep for young PGG Wrightson auctioneers

Ben Wright and Brooke Cushion make a nationwide mark among young rural professionals

PGG Wrightson secured a quinella at the tenth annual Heartland Bank Young Auctioneers Competition, held in Canterbury in early November. Ben Wright, a sheep and beef representative for the company based in Manawatu, finished first in the contest, while Brooke Cushion, a PGG Wrightson dairy, sheep and beef representative in Waikato, was runner up.


Ben Wright says having plenty of practice selling in Feilding and being surrounded by experienced colleagues willing to train him in the basics has helped develop the skills that won him the young auctioneer title.


"I was thrown straight into selling at auction from the start of my career and have no shortage of older guys coaching me the whole way through.


"A good auctioneer needs to be confident, as well as having a bit of charisma and character. You also need to be able to use your voice, which has always come easy for me," he said.


Callum Stewart, PGG Wrightson livestock national genetics manager, said the competition was an excellent opportunity for young rural professionals to show their skills.


"Auctions have played a vital role in the rural economy for centuries and have always been an essential part of PGG Wrightson's identity. Although technology is providing some exciting alternatives to sell livestock, produce or property, the auction is likely to remain an integral part of agribusiness for the foreseeable future.


"Earlier this year PGG Wrightson implemented an auctioneers strategy, which helps identify and train promising auctioneers with a bright future. Ben and Brooke are part of that programme, which helped them to show up, shine, and edge out their peers from other companies. They can be proud of their success, which stands them in good stead as they develop their careers. 


"A smartly run auction will achieve the best possible price for a farmer selling stock, feeding directly into the business bottom line. Ben and Brooke have shown they are masters of the craft and will do that for many farming businesses in the future," said Callum.


PGG Wrightson reps Russell Moloney of South Otago and Matt Holmes of Oxford also featured strongly in the Young Auctioneers Competition, which was for entrants under 30.


24 November 2021

Cameron Gray: Knowing you've made their day

A '100 per cent country boy' makes the shift from rural transport to livestock rep

With roots in the region, Cameron Gray started as a PGG Wrightson South Canterbury and Waimate livestock representative in October 2021. A 100 per cent country boy, Cameron's home patch is Cannington, Cave, 35 kilometres west of Timaru, where his parents have a 200-hectare property running 800 ewes and 70 breeding cows. 


Cameron left school in 2012.


"I went to work at Temuka Transport. My father drives, which led me into it. I graduated to driving stock trucks through the South Island. Although I made a good living and enjoyed the countryside, after seven years, I started working out what I wanted to achieve in life and thinking about a different direction." 


Around that time, Greg Uren of PGG Wrightson South Canterbury approached Cameron in the Temuka Saleyards. 


"He asked would I like to become a stock agent? I said: 'Funny enough, I've been thinking about that,' so I came on as a trainee for two years.


"I had no idea what a livestock rep did. Driving a stock truck, I only saw part of the job. I thought agents leant on drafting gates and drove around looking cool. Being a trainee for two years opened my eyes to the industry. I achieved things I never thought I would," he says.


Auctioneering was one, taking Cameron into the unknown. 


"Greg said, 'You need to do this.' I like being in the background, doing my own thing, so when he put me up to sell prime lambs at the Temuka sale, that was in the deep end," he says.


However, he quickly became good enough to compete in the 2020 Heartland Bank Young Auctioneers Competition, pitting rural professionals under 30 up against each other. He finished third in his first shot at the title.


Once the two-year trainee-ship finished, Cameron went back to Temuka Transport as a group sales rep.


"It was a job I fancied a crack at when I was driving. After finishing the trainee-ship, I knew I wanted to be in livestock and was keen to come back to PGG Wrightson, though there was no suitable position right away, so I decided to bide my time, give it two years and see what happened."


Seven months on, the right job came up, and Cameron came back. 


"One of the best parts of the job is rocking up to people's places knowing they appreciate you. You might be the only person they see that day, so even though you are there for business, that's only part of it. Seeing your clients, having a yarn, one on one when no one else is listening, some people open up. I enjoy hearing stories: how they got where they are. 


"You can't beat driving out of the gate knowing you've made their day. If you've helped them outselling or buying something, given them some advice or just put a smile on their face, that's the best part of the job," he says.


As a livestock newbie, Cameron knows he can do the job, though he also has to earn the right to work with clients.


"You have to earn that trust by being honest and being yourself. You have to be a people person. You have to make sure not to let your clients down, and be prepared to admit when you make a mistake. There's nothing worse than running away from a problem, though the key is not having that problem in the first place.


"Confidence is important, and you can't stress about something you can't change. People worry what will happen in future, though the first decision is usually the right decision: if you want to do something, either make it happen or move on," he says.


With plenty of experienced colleagues in the region, Cameron has some good mentors on which to base his own career.


"Many of the guys we have here have been loyal to the company for 20 or 30 years. I would like to be like that. When we get together in Temuka, they talk about the old days. When I'm in that position, if I'm lucky enough to be like them, I wonder what stories I'll have to tell the young fellas then," he says.

24 November 2021

Simon Eddington: Practicing what he preaches

Finishing a few head of stock keeps Simon in tune with what's happening for his clients 


Simon Eddington is PGG Wrightson livestock genetics representative for the Upper South Island. Taking his work home and trying to practice what he preaches, Simon has lived for the past 20 years on a 13-hectare lifestyle block just south of Ashburton.


"On my own account, I finish a few cattle, lamb a few ewes, and buy-in lambs. It keeps me in tune with what's happening. When I drive around, see the paddocks growing, go up to my client's driveways, having that hands-on experience of what they are doing is a reality check that helps me better understand what other farmers go through," he says. 


Growing up in Gore, Simon has called several parts of the South Island home, generally north of the Waitaki. Gaining his Dip Ag at Lincoln before farming in Marlborough on a property owned by his father and uncle, going to work for Pynes in St Andrews, Timaru in 1992, doing a stint for the company in Culverden, then working as a drafter, lamb marketer and in various other roles for a couple of different meat processors for about 20 years. He returned to PGG Wrightson to start his current position in April 2018. 


"In many cases in whichever job I have had, I had dealt with the same people throughout my career, though mostly they are different generations now to when I started," he says.


Simon regards the livestock genetics role as helping farmers be the best they can be.


"As a rep, you need to understand your clients' breeding programmes. Whether bulls or rams, our role is to help clients improve: know what they are trying to achieve and help them go for it. Genetics is the final bit that makes the difference, though it is the biggest change they can make. 


"Genetics is a long term game, not something you can achieve overnight. A decision you might make today can impact your whole breeding programme over several years, with progeny potentially remaining part of a flock or herd longer than the life of just that ram or bull. With all the long term value the right genetics can bring, that investment is comparatively cheap, potentially paying farmers back tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future," he says.


Simon values support from the other PGG Wrightson genetics reps elsewhere in the country.


"We work in a team environment, which I enjoy. Other colleagues are only a phone call away, and PGG Wrightson's commercial livestock reps are important for what we do. I rely on them to give me leads, which ultimately also improves their business," he says. 


While red meat processing schedules are undeniably good news for farmers at present, Simon says that carries challenges. 


"Prices are extremely good. There is a real demand for protein out there, and exporting the good side of what New Zealand does, our clean and green brand helps sell our product.


"However, ewes going out of the system because farmers are commanding such excellent prices does create a risk of compromising genetics. Prices at that level make it difficult to resist the temptation to quit stock. Everyone is even more motivated to raise lambing percentages. To keep that up, we need to provide the rams capable of servicing that need. With such exceptional money available at the moment, it has moved that pressure up another level.


"Canterbury is a big trading area. These are cropping farmers who buy in lambs to finish. At some stage, with all that stock going through, someone needs to retain enough ewes to keep these trading areas going: we need enough stock for trading and finishing, which comes from breeding. We need farmers to breed more replacements, which is where store lambs and finishing lambs come from. We see it with cattle as well, with such high demand from the meat companies. 


"It's a problem across agriculture, though in truth it is a highly desirable problem to have, based on such excellent market conditions," he says.

Simon Eddington, Genetic Specialist

24 November 2021

Go-Stock provides cashflow solution for young South Canterbury farming couple

Efficient and easy to use option leaves clients free to find better uses for their capital. 


PGG Wrightson offers an easy solution for on-farm cashflow: Go-Stock. Since 2016 Go-Stock has put 1.55 million lambs and 240,000 cattle onto New Zealand farms.


For farmers operating under Go-Stock, PGG Wrightson buys the stock and retains ownership. Go-Stock farmers, therefore, save on spending cash upfront, leaving them free to find other uses for their capital. 


Under a Go-Stock agreement, and with our guidance, the farmer decides when to take the stock to market. PGG Wrightson then sells them, with any resulting positive trading margin belonging to the farmer, fewer fees and selling costs.


Rob Holt and Steph Macfarlane lease four properties totalling 1100 hectares at Silver Hill, Albury, South Canterbury, where they run approximately 9000 stock units, including breeding, finishing and store stock.


Steph explains how Go-Stock benefits their business.


"We use it to trade all our lambs and cattle. About 30 per cent of our income is from finishing, which is where we use Go-Stock to manage cash flow.


"Go-Stock is efficient and really easy to use. It helps us to make sure our money goes towards our capital livestock. Being young farmers leasing property, our capital stock is our biggest focus and our most important priority. Go-Stock is such an easy process to set up and be part of.


"We would recommend Go-Stock to anyone else starting in the industry," she says.


Go-Stock is an option for sheep, cattle and deer, while a Go-Stock Dairy offer is coming soon.

For more information about Go-Stock, speak to your PGG Wrightson livestock representative here.

24 November 2021

North Island rebounding from slow, chilly start to spring

Cattle, yearlings, weaners and lambs all selling well 

By early November, the North Island's slow, chilly start to spring had ended, temperatures were rising, and the grass was growing fast. Particularly gratifying: Hawke's Bay, in drought for the past three years, received plenty of rain at an ideal time, with the moisture appearing to have soaked in, setting up perfect ideal conditions. 


North Island cattle and yearling markets have responded well. Although a few sales have dropped slightly on comparative needs, in most instances, we are close to record prices through the saleyards, statistics that optimistic red meat schedules fully justify.


Demand for dairy beef weaners is solid, particularly for beef cross heifers and steers. At the same time, results for Friesian bulls have initially been mixed across most regions, though they should rise as spring grass growth accelerates. 


New-season lambs are starting to come to the market. Given the circa $9.50 per kilogram schedule, prices align with expectations, noting that many lambs around most regions are looking for a good dose of sun to bring on the bloom they would typically display at this point of the season.


Some covid frustration is creeping in, with those operating in lockdown level three suffering most. These conditions pose challenges for agents, saleyard staff and especially for purchasers, with some obstacles in travel to locations. Where at all possible, in those locked down areas, we are attempting to live-stream significant sales, with the uptake and results through bidr® playing a substantial part. 


Matt Langtry, PGG Wrightson North Island Livestock Manager

24 November 2021

Positive signs for a healthy season of dairy herd forward sales

Farmers considering offering herds for purchase need to start preparing now

Listings for forwarding sales of dairy herds for settlement on 1 May and 1 June 2022 are starting to come onto the market. Any farmer considering selling a herd should contact their livestock representative now. 


Early planning is essential. An optimal marketing plan will help secure maximum value. Herds with both autumn and spring calving cows and heifers generally come forward at this time of year. 


While it is too soon to predict how values will trend, early sales have been encouraging. A powerful Global Dairy Trade sends positive market messages throughout the sector, which we are hopeful will flow into the dairy stock market and enable vendors to capitalise.


In those circumstances, the key to optimising value is to talk to your livestock representative early, discuss the sales process in detail, and plan accordingly. When you use PGG Wrightson to sell your dairy herd on a forward contract, we will make sure we leave no stone unturned to create the best market possible. 


For more information check

Jamie Cunninghame, PGG Wrightson National Dairy Livestock Manager 


24 November 2021

Trainee programme marks ten years

Clients of livestock business benefiting from fresh talent, professionally trained 

Succession planning is a significant issue for farmers. In common with much of the agriculture sector, around ten years ago, PGG Wrightson confronted the fact that our livestock team wasn't growing any younger.


To address that fact, we introduced a comprehensive trainee programme to provide new young rural professionals recruited to our team with the skills necessary for a career advising farmers on their sale and purchase of livestock. This is a programme intended to invest in the future of the business by supporting the young up-and-comers who will grow and develop with us to deliver that future.


Our trainee programme comprises a 12-month skills academy via an Industry Training Organisation (ITO) course, offering participants a formal professional qualification in livestock. This is supplemented by in-house training focusing on the likes of assessing livestock, analysing studs, and evaluating potential on-farm performance enhancement.


All PGG Wrightson trainees are assigned a sponsor or mentor within the company responsible for guiding them through their training.


Ten years on, the programme has shown its worth, with a multitude of fresh talent in the shape of graduate trainees now fully embedded in the business, providing excellent service to our clients and creating their own legacy within PGG Wrightson.


Graduates of the trainee programme are becoming our top performers, mainly stamping their mark with their auctioneering ability. Several former trainees have gone on to win or place highly in the annual Heartland Bank Young Auctioneers Competition.


24 November 2021

Red meat prospects positive for South Island farmers

Warmer conditions after a late spring, plus excellent export demand, drive optimism

A late start to the spring slowed grass growth in the South Island, meaning some early lambs gained less weight than farmers look for. However, with plenty of rain, the season began in earnest once temperatures rose from late October.


Coupled with what have become excellent feed conditions, the current schedule and market outlook are driving strong prices through South Island cattle sales. Premiums are on offer for well-bred traditional breeds, and demand through the whole South Island is solid.


Meanwhile, as drafting commences on early spring lambs and with a favourable schedule in prospect, farmers are looking forward to excellent returns for lamb and mutton. Back slightly due to the earlier colder conditions, lamb weights stand to catch up quickly with the better weather that has prevailed more recently.


As ever, China has a significant influence on the red meat market. Chinese demand for protein remains high, particularly relative to the continued incidence of swine flu affecting China's domestic pork production. Australian farmers rebuilding their national cattle herd and sheep flock after several dry years, retaining capital stock they would otherwise finish, underscores New Zealand's excellent short and medium-term global position. Strong demand for chilled lamb from the traditional United Kingdom and Europe markets also underpins these good prospects.

Shane Gerken, PGG Wrightson South Island Livestock Manager

24 November 2021

Ram sale season showing red meat's strength

Selections focus on FE, worms, marbling and progeny performance

This year's annual ram sale season is underway, showing the current strength of the red meat sector. 


Clients are focused on genetics resilient or resistant to facial eczema and worms. Eating quality is a critical factor in most purchaser decisions, with marbling increasingly sought after. As always, the performance of progeny is a key criterion sought for in the rams offered for sale.


Some new breeds featured strongly in the early sales as purchasers look to try out innovative genetics. Grassendale Terminal, featuring Beltex-Suffolk cross rams, were among the first sales of the season in Masterton, clearing 78 lots at an average of $1642 and a top prize of $2600. In Frankton, Nikau Coopworth's sale, with stock strong on facial eczema resistance and performance, sold 94 rams averaging $2286. 


New Zealand's virtual sale yard bidr® continues to gain traction at the sales, particularly for those parts of the country in stricter lockdown. In the sale for Waimai Romney, in Te Akau, 14 per cent of the 120 lot offering sold via bidr®. Overall the Waimai sale averaged $2825 per ram and scored a top prize of $8700.


Meanwhile, Charblack terminal rams posted a total clearance of the 39 lots offered at an average of $1343.


Alongside the auctions, those buying and selling privately are witnessing similar trends and prices. Most farmers realise that a ram is a highly significant investment. With progeny potentially remaining part of a flock for seven years, the comparatively cheap up-front investment in a ram can put tens or hundreds of thousands on the bottom line for farmers in the medium and long term.


The ram sale season will run through until mid-December in the North Island, while South Island ram sales will continue until mid-February.

Callum Stewart, PGG Wrightson Livestock National Genetics Manager 

22 November 2021

Listen: Rural Property Market at its Peak

The Country’s Jamie Mackay is joined by PGG Wrightson’s General Manager for Rural Real Estate, Peter Newbold, to take a look rural property this month. 

Newbold talks about how the selling is strong and the value is good in the rural property market with great prices in all sectors. The last rural property peak was around 2013-14.

The dairy property market has recently seen reluctant interest; however, the recent property boom has increased attention, particularly by the government sector. Newbold adds that the dairy properties are having their best season in a long time with people wanting to invest in the $10 million+ sector. 
Sheep and beef properties continue to be prosperous, particular with continued interest from buyers and investors in metro areas. 

Horticulture properties continue to be a kingpin in the market. Mackay notes the immense values that some of these properties are going for when they eventuate onto the market. Newbold adds that there are a number of quality orchards that help the market to move forward positively. 

Newbold anticipates a surge of Aucklanders wanting to relocate into the rural sector once they are allowed to leave their lockdown in December.



Click here to view property

For the first time in four generations, 'Lake Station' is being offered for genuine sale and consists of 1009ha (2500 acres) in three titles.

Fronting onto the Buller River and with the magnificent St Arnaud Range as a backdrop Lake Station is a truly remarkable grazing property.

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