First bull sale for Murray family since quake

9:04 pm on 21 June 2017

The Murray family in Clarence Valley have had their first big bull sale since the earthquake in November.

Bulls for sale.

Bulls for sale. Photo: Andrew Spencer Photography

Because the road is closed to the south, the 65 buyers were flown in from Kaikōura on four different helicopters.

Over 100 bulls were up for sale from the Murray's Matariki Hereford stud and the neighbouring Woodbank Angus stud.

Mustering hereford cattle on Muzzle Station

Mustering Hereford cattle on nearby Muzzle station, south of the Murray's farm Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

The sale was held on the Murray's 4000 acre home farm and Sam Murray said it was a bit different to previous years.

"We were scratching our heads a wee bit on how it was going to go six months ago ... it attracted a wee bit of media attention with us flying in all our clients from south of the slip.

"From Kaikōura everyone got helicoptered in, anyone that wanted to buy a bull they registered through PGG Wrightson's and they got a free helicopter ride up."

It was the 48th annual combined bull sale, and the best yet, Mr Murray said.

Sam Murray shoeing his horse on nearby muzzle station.

Sam Murray shoeing his horse on nearby muzzle station. Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

"We had 56 hereford bulls catalogued and Woodbank had 56 angus bulls ... we pulled a few out that weren't quite looking right - so we ended up selling about 52.

He said strong calf sales and high beef prices delivered higher prices.

"They averaged $7900 (a head) which is our best average to date. Last year we averaged only $7000 but we had one expensive bull ... this year our top price was only $15,000 but they just kept on selling and there was a bull there for everyone so it was good."

With the road to Kaikōura cut off by a slip from the November earthquake the bulls heading south will be trucked the long way through Murchison.

"Our part of the deal is we pay free transport South Island wide and to Fielding so they'll have to truck the long way - she's a bit of a journey now.

"We use a good company that has good mats and water in their truck so they're happy when they come off."

Hereford cattle climbing up a narrow track from the Clarence River.

Hereford cattle climbing up a narrow track from the Clarence River. Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

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