Jacqueline Blackwell can rest easy for another year - her Herefords have once again topped their Mangaotea Farm annual bull sale. This year her top Hereford two-year-old bull made $2350, $400 more than last year and $350 more than the top Angus, the breed her husband Robin is responsible for. There is always light-hearted rivalry between the pair to produce the top animal. "Hopefully, my bull will make the top," Mrs Blackwell said during the sale. "It reinforces the breeding. I didn't want to sell them as yearlings, I wanted to grow them out." The couple are renowned for their good quality stock and bulls which produce easy calving. All bulls are tested for EBL, TB and BVD and are vaccinated for BVD and leptospirosis. A large crowd made their way to the sale on Thursday, of which 101 were registered buyers. Overall, the animals averaged $350 more than last year. All bulls were sold. The couple buy in the Jerseys locally and Murray Greys from Christchurch and carry them through the winter. "This is a proper bull sale for astute farmers. Everything they do, they do right," Allied Farmers dairy co-ordinator Kim Harrison said. Many of the buyers were after the Jerseys. "There is a huge demand for well-bred Jerseys. We are very short of Jersey bulls in New Zealand," Mr Harrison said.
Dairy support is the major income earner on Robin and Jacqueline Blackwell’s 600-hectare Taranaki farm, Mangaotea, between Stratford and Inglewood. Ninety percent of stock run on the farm is cattle, mostly over-wintered dairy cows and dairy heifers on 12-month contracts. They also produce hay and silage, used on-farm to carry stock through winter with surplus sold to dairy farmers. Adding interest as well as income is the annual on-farm Mangaotea farm service bull sale with the Hereford, Angus and Jersey bulls on offer mostly selling to repeat local buyers.
Robin and Jacqueline Blackwell – for sustainable land management. An extensive sustainable land management programme on the Blackwells’ 400 hectare sheep and beef Mangaotea Farm near Tariki includes the retirement of the gullies and the intensiﬁcation of the more productive land. The Blackwells monitor the farm’s soil fertility levels and assess any potential environmental impacts of intensiﬁcation. Pole planting and riparian management programmes are ongoing, 30 hectares is covered in native bush or pine forest, and habitat restoration is being carried out on a number of wetland areas.