Business Rural North Autumn 2022

16 | Charolais breed is Richard Loader Competitive shearing at the highest level played a huge role in Paul Grainger’s career before the Te Kuiti sheep and beef farmer settled back on the land, nding a new goal that led to the establishment of the Kia Toa Charolais Stud. Back in ’77 and a year out of school Paul went shearing. He was 17, pressing and rousing when thrown a handpiece, and he never looked back. The harder Paul worked, the more money he made, but he says the competitiveness was a key driver. “You started at the bottom in the shearing gang as the slowest and all you wanted to do was beat the guy above you, until you’re were at the top of the stand.” And it came — shearing comps at the A&P Shows, fourteen Golden Shears Open Finals, a dozen New Zealand Finals and hundreds of major Finals. “I shore for New Zealand in Aussie, America and Britain. It was the golden era of competitive shearing when there were the big household names like Roger Cox, Martin Ngataki, Colin King. But we all created our own name with the likes of Alan Donaldson, Paul Avery, Micky MacDonald and myself. In all Paul shore for 29 years and ended up running three shearing gangs. “By then I was into my forties and it was starting to hurt a lot more than it used to. Throughout my competitive shearing and time away from the farm my family had been incredibly supportive of me. All the years I’d shorn competitively it gave my family and me something more than the humdrum of everyday farming. I was talking to my wife Claire and children Rhys, Mark, Stacey and Hannah and we said what can we do so that we aren’t doing the humdrum of everyday life for twelve months a year on the farm?” When a Simmental cattle stud came up for sale, Rhys suggested we have a look at it and do something that inspired or provided a goal. While not overly impressed with the Simmental, a Charolais stud came up in Taumarunui in 2002. RURAL PEOPLE » Kia Toa Charolais Kia Toa Charolais bull Ohio. Kia Toa Charolais’ rst bull sale was in 2003. In conjunction with another established Charolais stud. The family did their homework and felt the Charolais breed was on its way up, had a quiet temperament, was functionally sound and had a reputation for fattening quickly. “So we visited the stud and came away with fteen females and that was the start of Kia Toa. Obviously we wanted to sell the bulls and a lot of people had cows and were looking for a terminal sire.” Kia Toa Charolais’ rst bull sale was in 2003. In conjunction with another established Charolais stud Kia Toa put nine bulls through the Te Kuiti Sale yards and did very well, generating interest that inspired further growth of the stud. “It was never going to be a hobby, it had to be economically sound. The bulls had to be functional, and I was never going to pamper them. It was not just peaches and ice cream, they had to eat weetbix as well. And we believed a cow that was raised in the hills would be harder again.” Kia Toa continued to sell its R2 Charolais terminal sires through the Te Kuiti sale yards for a further seven years before a purpose built pavilion was constructed on the farm with viewing pens and sale ring. The rst on-farm sale was 2014. “We have up to 150 people come each year. The sale is always the last Monday of May. We usually offer 30 – 37 R2 terminal sires, and are very stringent on our culling procedure looking at temperament and feet. We’ve been buying the most expensive bulls in the country for the last couple of years. You don’t become number one by being number two.” The Grainger’s aim is to achieve a beefy bull that matures very quickly and for those genetics to be passed on so that the progeny matures within 15 months. “If you carry an animal for two winters it’s costing you money, not just in feed but in looking after your land. So the quicker you can get them into the works the better. Most of our bulls progeny top the weaner sales so they’re starting to become a sought after product.”