A changing of the guard within New Zealand's Holstein fraternity created a special opportunity for breeders on June 17 with Waipiri Holsteins, owned by David and Pip Fullerton and their sons Alex and Dean, auctioning 95 of their best animals at A Taste of Waipiri sale.
This was alongside some Ayrshires and invitational lots from friends and colleagues at Ferdon Genetics and Pete Smit.
The large crowd that gathered at the sale came from as far as Northland and Southland with plenty of local support too.
There were representations from all of the Fullertons' areas of specialty or interest from polo to rugby, farming and family.
International cow families were present and there was access for all, as the auction was available online with less than a second delay.
Two hundred and twenty-five people watched online and there were 56 registered buyers/bidders involved.
The use of the online auction makes the market more accessible for people no matter where they are.
"After years of strong farming principles at Waipiri there was genuine intrigue of a herd that for 20-25 years has been the leading export in embryos and live bulls all over the world," said David.
Waipiri would like to thank everybody in the huge gathering with a special thanks to all purchasers, under bidders and contenders on the 95 lots offered.
The final average for Waipiri Holsteins was $7400.
There was strong competition for all in-calf and close to profit cattle and all embryos sold well with plenty of competition.
Autumn born latest genetic youngsters received less interest than expected but some great buying was to be had amongst them.
The purchased cattle are now spread all over New Zealand.
Top prices were Waipiri Mogul Kristy Ex $27,000 to Andrew Dreadon and Valendale Ayrshires (2017); Waipiri Shottle Finsco-ET $23,500 to Mark Rowlands & Chris O'Connor; Waipiri Sidekick Suri $21,500 to Daisy Downs (Brian and Leanne Caird).
Without the huge effort and organisation of Corey Ferguson, Brett Barclay and Clemont Illand the sale wouldn't have been possible. Without the Australian fitters due to travel restrictions, they conducted the young crew expertly as 94 head went through the ring without a single issue and in most people's opinion, looked an absolute superb line-up of cattle.
PGG Wrightson agents Jamie Cunninghame and Andrew Reyland, sale staff Brian Robinson and Warren Ferguson, auctioneer Peter Kelly (who filled in for Brian Leslie) and sale co-ordinator Kevin Hart all played major roles in making the sale happen.
Sale averages were - cows $8100; in-calf heifers $10,182; yearlings $5400 and embryos $1200.
On a weekly basis at Waipiri, there are always trades happening overseas and within New Zealand whether it's embryos, high end cows or bull mating in the spring and autumn.
They use global genomics, which are now a great farming tool and a point of difference.
Having been in the Fullerton family since 1903, the 300ha grade-one soils at Ngāhinapōuri are home to 650 cows, which are milked through a freshly commissioned De Laval 50-bale rotary dairy.
In the past decade, Waipiri has consistently pushed through a 10,000-litre average, been the highest-yielding herd in New Zealand four times, and its show cows have consistently cut a swathe through the country.
Waipiri has won the National Progeny Competition 11 times (where five daughters from one sire are judged on conformation and production) – including five times with Oman daughters.
Waipiri Holsteins last tested the market in 2011, selling 94 head for a $6200 average (including $7900 for 23 in-calf lots).
Fast forward to 2021 in a season where milk prices are soaring, Waipiri is also coming off the back of some stellar results with a group of exciting young cows – with a number those individuals committed to the sale.
David says he and Pip have made a conscious decision to stand down (as David's parents did for them) to allow their sons to assume the mantle at Waipiri.
And, with multiple Premier Breeder banners, Semex on-Farm Champions, and solid energy coming out of the Waikato and Stratford shows in the past four years, David said it felt right to market most of their show team.
"The show efforts have mostly come down to the two boys, and I think it's time for them to take over the day-to-day running of the breeding programme," said David.
"If we were going out now, it made sense to put up 20 to 25 of the best cows we had if they were calving right.
"While my passion for the genetics is still there, my interest in getting up and physically milking the cows was no longer quite there with me. We have other business interests to keep us out of trouble, and I'm always around and about the farm.
"And, we wanted to give the boys the same opportunity our parents gave us at a similar age."