Red Oak Stud Newsletter

April 2020


With the ever changing and challenging times we are all facing at the moment, I thought it was an opportune time to let you all know what has been happening here are Red Oak. The Covid-19 enforced lockdown has thrown us a few curly ones to work through, and while agreeing the right steps were taken to halt the viruses spread, I don't think there will be too many business that will come away unscathed in some shape or form.

The Season

Overall, its been a very dry year, with 2019 only giving us just over 500mls of rain. Spring for us was both cold and dry. We had a great calving and lambing season with next to no losses, but with the high lambing percentages we struggled to feed them. Finally, a bit of rain at the end of October/ November and things started to pick up. However, only receiving 11mls of rain from the start of December to the 10th of February the dry has continued, and although we had a good couple of inches a few weeks ago we are going to need a lot more to get things on track for the fast approaching winter.

Spring Sales

We had a number of on farm sales through the spring.

  • Firstly, the Angus Yearling Bull Sale at the start of October went well, while the average was down on last year slightly, we sold the most yearling bulls ever. Our policy of putting up sizeable yearlings, which consistently average between 440-450kg at sale time with the top yearling well over 500kg. This gives our clients not only heifer mating options, but bulls capable of serving cows as well. We would like to give our thanks to all those who supported and continue to support this sale.
  • Secondly, it was decided we would enter the traditional Glenmark Drive Lamb sale again. We had 150% lambing with no feed and prime, store lamb and mutton prices being very high through November, it was an easy decision to make. Our lambs averaged $130 and works type ewes averaged over $200, which as the dry season unfolded was a great result.
  • Lastly, the first Red Oak Ram Sale was held on the 6th December 2019. While we have been selling our romneys privately for 30 years, Ash came home and showed interest on breeding halfbreds. We had a few trials over the last couple of years by purchasing merino rams and putting them over our romney ewes. Our first decent line of halfbred hoggets clipped 3kg @ 22.8 micron and returned us $15.10/kg greasy, it was a no brainer with the state of the crossbred wool prices, to continue trying things out. While we will always maintain our quality romney based flock, we are intending to run 2,500 – 3,000 halfbred ewes at Red Oak. With specially selected stud romney ewes mated to top merino rams, Ash was able to line up 50 top quality halfbred 2th rams which were very well received. They had all the data, liveweights, foot scores, wool tested, and even EMA carcass scanned. All but a hand full sold with an average of $1,240, a good result. We also had 50 2th romneys in the sale however the clearance wasn’t as good with a couple of key buyers unable to attend at a busy time of year. What sold went well and we averaged $1,150 with the rest sold in the following weeks.

Client Feedback

Red Oak value our farming clients and enjoy catching up whether it be a phone call, at dog trial circuits or at sales. With the Covid-19 government implemented restrictions, it has really taken a toll on the social gatherings for us farmers which for us has been frustrating at the best of times.
Two new North Island Angus breeders have sourced genetics off Red Oak over the last couple of years. Paul Revell from Mataroa, Taihape, started the Okaka Stud purchasing cows both privately and at our cow sale 2017 and 2018. While he also bought cows off a number of other studs, he reports that the Red Oak cows handled his conditions well and were the only ones to all get back in calf and also having the highest weaning weight average to boot. Jed Mcalley from Hunterville started his new Angus stud with the purchase of 20x Red Oak, MA cows in June 2019. He recently rung to say that his weaned bull calves were averaging 306kg with the heifers only 20kg lighter. The top bull calf weighed 348kg. "I reckon I could have got them a lot heavier if it hadn’t been for this bloody drought" he said.
It is great to hear this sort of feedback as we pride ourselves in having good breeding genetics. A few have commented that considering the season, the dry cow rates have been at a good acceptable level, and most said calf weaning weights were better than expected.

Breeding Programme

Normally Red Oak Stud usually use AI as a means to increase our number of progeny by home sires which are breeding well for us. This year we splashed out, doing all of the cows plus yearling heifers. We sourced 2 high performance EBV bulls, one a Matauri Reality son Ash and Rick purchased as a yearling at the Matauri sale in August 2019, the other a Kaiwara bull who has been breeding well at Hakatere station. Rick saw him at Xcell, being a good hill country type. We AI’d 60% of the stud to these 2 bulls and covered the rest with Ro High Country and 2 top Pure NZ bulls, Pinebank 97 and Glanworth 1213. Hopefully with a reasonable conception we will have good number to run through under our conditions as a trial. Red Oak bulls were used to follow up after AI over all studs. It will be interesting how they all fair over the next 2 years.

RO 278

RO High Country 770

June Bull Sale 2020

Who knows where we will be by our 12th June sale date. Obviously our preferred option is to hold the sale as normal, but life as we know it is looking increasing unlikely. Therefore, we are trying to get organised early by informing everyone what the options may be. Our catalogue has been done and hopefully with the drop to Alert Level 3, can get printed soon. We plan to video all sale bulls and put them on our website and Facebook pages hoping to be uploaded around mid-May.

If the drop to Alert Level 2 on the 11th May is implemented as forecasted, the North Canterbury Bull Walk on the 21st May can go ahead. Buyers can also inspect the bulls on farm at their preferred time by appointment only. As things seem to be changing daily, we will ensure that you are kept up to date as soon as possible.

As far as the bulls go, we are excited to be offering a very even line of young sires by 4 home bred Red Oak sires and Meadowslea 179 whose sons were well received at last years sale. He is a trait leader for rib and rump fats and leaves quiet easy doing cattle.
There are 2 good young pure NZ sires RO 278 and RO 451 which have left an outstanding line, with great carcass attributes. Our RO Meaty keeper son RO 11 has left some good bulls including Lot 2. And lastly, the old boy RO High Country has a few there too.

If you need to get in touch, please don't hesitate to call using the below contact numbers. We look forward to catching up soon, when possible. In the meanwhile, stay safe and stay home.


Red Oak Stud

Rick, Deb, Ash and Tam
32 Fergusons Road, Weka Pass, Amberley | Rick +642 7245 7751 | Ash  +642 7403 9365

Additional information for Red Oak Stud Newsletter April 2020