1 Apr 2016

Cattle to Kauroa

From Country Life, 9:30 pm on 1 April 2016

Four times a year the sale yards at Kauroa, 20 minutes south of Raglan, come alive with livestock auctions.  It's the only remaining small country sale yard in coastal Waikato, and the long standing tradition of a BBQ and beer under nearby trees at the end of the day, remains a highlight for local farmers. Max Kempthorne's been hauling sheep, lambs, weaner and older cattle to the yards for the past decade or more.

Max Kempthorne enjoys being a livestock truck driver because the scenery around coastal Waikato is stunning, the roads challenging, and he gets to know all the local farmers.

And he says the job isn't boring.  "A tip truck for example, you can do the same job  backwards and forwards all day every day. This job you get variety. It's not always nice, covered in crap and shit but yeah I'd rather do this than monotonous, repetitious work."  

The 'end of day' beer and BBQ are an added attraction to this particular run too.  Drivers, buyers, sellers and auctioneers all join together for a good old natter.

The yards have been here since the early 1900s and one of the local identities, Brian Gibbison, says in the old days when the sales went for two days, so did the parties.

He says farmers camped down under the trees, put their beers in the river and generally had a good time.  

These days things are a bit more moderate, but the party's still a good one; especially after today's sale where prices were the highest they'd ever been. The top pen of weaner steers sold for $1350 a head, and one farmer who thought he'd make $16,000 for his stock, nearly doubled that.