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The big news in the local farming circles last week was the sale of the well known and very successful Kingspark Bonsmara herd of JJ Park from Bedford to a consortium of buyers from the area. Local farmers Justin Stirk from Southwell and Craig Handley from Bathurst together with fellow Frontier Bonsmara breeders Daryll and Jonothan Fetting from Fort Beaufort and Andrew van Kerken from Addo purchased the 180 strong female herd for R3,62 million, believed to be a record for the Eastern Cape.

JJ Park and his family are emigrating to Australia later this year and have now dispersed all three of their studs, namely the Kingspark Bonsmara stud, the Dumisa Hereford stud and their Braford herd. Their presence will be sorely missed as they have been supplying quality bulls into the area over the past decade and a half.

The Kingspark stud was a member of the Frontier Bonsmara group and regularly attained top prices on the annual auction held in Grahamstown. They do currently hold the record price for a bull which sold for R180 000 last year.

Paul Hobson of Hobson & Co who brokered the deal of the stud was delighted that the top quality genetics are going to be retained by the Frontier group so as to maintain the very high standard of animals which are offered annually. The animals have also been bought by outstanding studmasters who can use them successfully in their herds and the genetics will not be lost to the breed. He also stated that the Bonsmara breed is used extensively and successfully in the area where Hobson & Co has sold over 1200 Bonsmara bulls over the last 10 years.

News from the markets is that there has been a drop in the wool price which is a bit worrying seeing that the rand is so weak but the meat market has remained excellent even although we were in the traditional mid month uncertain period. Mutton, lamb and beef remains scarce and prices of way above average were achieved on sales in Graaff Reinet and Paterson last week. The demand for calves, store cows and store lambs is maintaining itself with no fireworks due to the fact that the feedlots have finished their buying for the Christmas market and the experts are predicting a drop in mutton and lamb prices in the near future when the traditional avalanche of sheep from the Western Cape start to affect the market.

The last week has seen grazing in the area improve dramatically due to the warmer weather and the condition of stock should improve over the next few weeks.

Farmers should really use the opportunity to buy in breeding stock to replenish their herds as the breeding stock market remains depressed and the prospects look good for an outstanding spring and early summer.