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75 Years Of Ferdon Tops At $24,000

The Ferguson family before the sale started united and ready for action. Photo supplied.

Family and solidarity shone through at the 75 years of Ferdon sale today in Otorohanga on April 22.

The family hadn’t hosted an on-farm sale for 29 years, and not only was there an intense sense of family, the industry turned out in force to support one of New Zealand’s highest performing Jersey herds.

Australian auctioneer Brian Leslie pointed out that the three breeds in the sale – Jersey, Holstein, and Ayrshire – were all represented in the top three prices, which ranged from $20,000 to $24,000. The sale came at the end of a busy calendar this month for the registered market – with Busybrook Holsteins and Lawwal Holsteins both averaging more than $9000.

Some had wondered how deep everyone’s pockets would be by the time Ferdon rolled around. They needn’t have worried – the sale averaged $7305 overall. Between the three breeds and two consigners, the cows averaged $9550, the in-calf heifers averaged $7133, and the yearlings and younger calves averaged $5500.


The top price Jersey and the top price of the sale came on the last lot. She was knocked down to Peter and Claire Hansen, of Lilac Grove Jerseys, at Fernside in Canterbury. Ferdon Fizz Viyella EXC sold for $24,000 due to sexed Caspian in July. In 274 days continuing she has 645kg MS up with a 5.8% fat and 4.2% protein. She is headed south in a three-way syndicate between Lilac Grove Jerseys (Fernside), Sara and Stu Russell (Ashburton), and Graham Smith and Debbie Mercer (Invercargill). The underbidder came from Australia.

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Lilac Grove’s Peter Hansen said he had three lots that he was interested in, but the Viyella was his main quarry.

“I had a member of the family that we lost before we got a female, and I just felt that it got us back into that family,” he said. “It was a worry that if you held on, you might miss out and have nothing, but it was a calculated risk. She’s such a nice balanced cow from a deep family – cow families are everything. “She is so dairy, and that production of more than 7000 litres was part of our thinking.”

He said the sale was a shot in the arm for the Jersey breed.

“I thought this sale brought a lot of energy to the industry which has been missing in the Jersey circles. It was hard to know if it would go close to matching the Holstein sales that have been held recently, but I think it did a really good job of that and Warren and Michelle and their family should be commended for what they’ve done for the Jersey breed.”

Warren Ferguson said they were rapt with the average and particularly pleased that Viyella goes to the select herd of Lilac Grove, which supplies raw milk to the community in and around Rangiora.

“You often hear lots of talk before a sale, and often people don’t always follow through. It’s nice she’s going to Peter and Claire because we know that she will be appreciated and looked after,” Warren said.

One lot sold to the United Kingdom, and she will continue to reside at Ferdon on behalf of Simon Gaskin, of Brighton, in East Sussex. Simon manages sponsorship at the All England Jumping Course, at Hickstead. He visited Ferdon several years ago and has since bought three animals at auction from the family at different times. This time he invested in Lot 73, Ferdon Askin Caramel, an August 2023-born Brookbora Valentino Askin daughter, for $8500.

“She is out of one of our favourite cows, and Simon had picked her out as the one he wanted. He knows the families we have here,” Warren said.


Top price Ayrshire was Lot 19 which sold for $20,000. Ferdon Bigstar Goldie V9-9 was Intermediate Champ on her debut at Waikato 2023, and Jacoba Gread (on the halter) was thrilled to be her new owner. Photo supplied.

Top price Ayrshire was Lot 19, Ferdon Bigstar Goldie V9-9, who sold for $20,000 to Heavenly Moos, from Ohinewai. Goldie was Intermediate Champion on her debut at the Waikato show in 2023, and one of her new owners – 17-year-old Jacoba Gread – was thrilled to work with the three-year-old during the sale preparation, and to take her home afterwards in partnership with her parents, Mark and Kylie. Her emotional reaction at the end of the day was about so much more than many realised.

Mark is in remission following surgery (and follow-up treatment) to remove a brain tumour in April 2021. The shadow and the uncertainty it had cast over a family was eased a little more when the hammer fell, and the family looked towards their future.

“I was over the moon that we had gotten her, but sad that mum wasn’t in the photo because she will be our cow, rather than my cow,” Jacoba said.

Eight days before Ferdon’s sale, Mark broke his leg, and an infection of the back of that injury had kept him in hospital until two days before the auction. It also meant both parents had left for a doctor’s appointment by the time photographs were taken.

“We were sold on her without seeing her temperament, but after watching her be clipped, washed, and prepared through the week, I knew I didn’t want to leave without her,” Jacoba said.

“Another thing that makes her so special to us as it kind of shows that there’s always good things waiting for you at the other side of life’s challenges.”

Jacoba, who is studying for a Bachelor of Business (majoring in agribusiness) in between helping out at home, said they are excited to now be able to work with Goldie every day in their mixed herd, which includes Holsteins, Ayrshires, Jerseys, Crossbreds, and Linebacks. In addition to showing and breeding from her, they would like to sell a daughter from her in a futurity sale platform (designed to encourage young people) to give back to the industry.


Top price Holstein was Lot 26, Waipiri CR Freaky Girl-ET, who sold for $21,000. She was offered by Waipiri Holsteins and snapped up by Ferdon Genetics. Photo supplied.

Top price Holstein was Lot 26, Waipiri CR Freaky Girl-ET, who sold for $21,000. She was offered by Waipiri Holsteins, and she was snapped up by Ferdon Genetics. Waipiri offered a selection of 13 of their best. Freaky Girl is the reigning Holstein and All Breeds Intermediate Champion from the New Zealand Dairy Event in January. The Fullerton family reported that they averaged $12,500 over their group.

Warren also gave credit to the team of people that surrounded them on the day and helped to make the sale run seamlessly.

“We can only do so much ourselves, so having the quality team of young people that we had here was amazing,” he said.

Story and photos by Dianna Malcolm - MUD MEDIA

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