It was the very last sale at the Fordell saleyards.
The saleyards were a busy place in the 1970s, PGG Wrightson senior stock agent Harvey Falloon said. Thousands of ewes and cattle were yarded up, sold and trucked out.
For the last few years there was just one cattle sale a year, where Falloon sold the stock of his loyal clients.
On the last day, January 14, he sold 1350 cattle. It was a tough sale, he said, with the district getting drier and the export schedules going "backwards". But he managed to sell all the cattle ahead of what the market has been doing.
Then everyone just disappeared.
Falloon believes he has been the person keeping the Fordell saleyards alive, but it's getting harder and harder for him to get buyers there.
"They're only being kind to me to keep it alive," he said.
Now the saleyards sheds and rostrum, the yards themselves and the approximately 8ha holding paddocks will be flattened. The owners, PGG Wrightson and Carrfields, are likely to sell them as "dead ground", he believes.
Small saleyards are disappearing all over the North Island. The Levin yards closed a month ago. Raetihi went a few years ago and Taihape, Hunterville, Waverley and Marton have all closed.
No end to increasing lamb numbers
There are only about five full-time stock agents left in Whanganui - where there used to be 40.
Now people truck their stock to Feilding for sale. The Feilding saleyards are among the four largest in the North Island. They sell stock from across Taranaki, Waimarino, Tararua, Wairarapa and lower Hawke's Bay. They have modernised with liveweight scales, which buyers appreciate.
It is changes in land use that have changed the business of saleyards, Falloon said.
"Forestry took out huge numbers of stock, and that's still continuing. Then there was a huge swing to dairy, and so all our front ground went to dairy and dairy support.
"On top of that a lot of our big stations have gone and bought flat ground. They finish all their own stock now, whereas they all used to sell at store."
The trend to growing mānuka for honey is another nail in the coffin. And farmers are not as loyal to their stock agents as they used to be.
In the 1970s 50,000 ewes could be moved through the sale yards in two annual ewe fairs, and the saleyards were used by five livestock companies. As stock numbers dwindled there were a series of mergers and downsizings, until only PGG Wrightson used the yards.
It's no longer worth keeping them open, Falloon said.
"History moves on, and we get older."
Just down Warrengate Rd, Ursula (Spin) Sutherland and her sister Joan remember the saleyards when there was a railway station next door. Stock arrived by train, or were driven to the yards on foot.
There were horse fairs, and the Presbyterian Church provided lunches in the Fordell Hall.
Those were days when "all the front ground was fattening ground, and all our hills was breeding ground", Falloon said.
"Everyone would have a bit of a session at the pub after every sale."
Now the Sutherlands will have to truck their stock to Feilding, an extra cost.
"Fordell sales were always Tuesdays, and all the local stock got sold there. I think [the saleyards closure] is a bit sad, because they have been there so long," Sutherland said.