You are currently viewing 2015 Year-end Report

2015 was another iconic year for Hobson & Co with increased turnovers and numbers of livestock marketed through the company. More heartening however is that we feel we have grown as a business with better systems in place, a very experienced staff, a solid client base and new innovations which have placed us at the forefront of the livestock marketing industry.The year started on a scary note when our computer system was hacked over the December break but fortunately we had a very good paper trail and were able to avert an absolute disaster. The administration staff worked for weeks to recapture lost information and we have now put in a comprehensive system to avoid such problems in the future. It would really be very difficult to identify specific highlights for 2015 as there were many in a year where farming conditions were near perfect, but if I had to pick two they would have to be the 10th Frontier Bonsmara sale which for the 10th successive year had a 100% sale of bulls and our monthly sales which all showed solid growth across the spectrum and realized market related prices and better month after month. In the last ten years the Frontier Bonsmara group have sold just on 500 bulls into the market, most of them within a 120 km radius of Grahamstown. Hobson & Co are proud to have been part of this sale since inception and with the tireless support and input of the dedicated members this auction is now attracting buyers from all over SA. The 2015 auction attracted over 300 interested people and the 62 bulls averaged R40500 each in a year where breeding stock was not in high demand. Only after the sale did I realize what an amazing achievement this was and how much work had been put into the occasion. I would like to thank all the loyal supporters of this sale- you will not be disappointed as the quality of the bulls and the after sales service is unsurpassed in the industry.┬áThe regular stockfair success has to be attributed to Hobson & Co having arguably the best commercial livestock auctioneer in the business in Paul Mills, to the dedication shown by our agents to source the animals and their efficiency during the sales, the loyalty of our sellers who have bought into our auction system and our buyers who treat our auctions and ourselves with respect and support the sales on a regular basis. It is a known fact that Hobson & Co sales start on time, something which is not easy to achieve bearing in mind the number of stock that need to be carted in to the venues. The Grahamstown sale now starts at 10-00am due to increased numbers and has still finished after 6-30 pm on numerous occasions. Thank you to all parties concerned, I really believe we have a recipe where everybody is a winner. Sales which have shown exceptional growth are Paterson and Adelaide where the quality of stock offered has improved dramatically over the last 2 years. Grahamstown, Charlgrove and Bedford still remain our showcase sales and we had a hugely successful sale in the Sneeuberg north of Graaff Reinet where we have now put a permanent scale as this annual sale has become so big. If you heard that 708 cattle and 602 sheep were sold in one day in the Karoo you would probably think we were joking, but we did just that! We were hugely honoured to be awarded the “Friends of Sneeuberg” award this year at a function at Nieu Bethesda for our contribution to farming in the area. This dedicated group of farmers have almost singlehandedly driven the “Anti Fracking Campaign” with Dougie Stern (the new president AGRI EC) at the helm. Congratulations to you guys, we are proud to be considered partners of yours. All results of our sales are well chronicled on the Hobson & Co website but an interesting statistic is that the unit price of cattle and small stock sold were higher than the previous year and breeding stock remained under pressure throughout 2015. I still believe that when this trend changes the value of breeding cattle is going to go through the roof. In late 2015 Hobson & Co made a very careful and calculated decision to enter the game industry. The opportunity arose to team up with Brandon Leer and Garth Saville, who we consider to be of the best and most experienced role players in the game industry to hold three well planned, well managed sales in the Eastern Cape. These sales are the Lindale Heritage Game Auction on 30th April, the Great Frontier Game Sale on 21st May and the Summit Wildlife Auction on 1st October. Planning for all three sales is at an advanced stage and their websites should be up and running by late January. We would like to state categorically that this new enterprise will in no way effect our commitment to our core business of livestock marketing, in actual fact I think it should be beneficial to both industries with more and more farmers seeing the advantage of farming livestock and game together. All our clients are special to us and it is with a very heavy heart that we said goodbye to the Park family from Bedford who have immigrated to Australia. We wish you guys well and we shall really miss you. The first week in September is not going to be the same without the Brakfontein bull sale, but I suppose life carries on! It is also with great sadness that I report the passing of Dallas Kemp, the very well known auctioneer who was one of the true gentlemen of the industry. He actually auctioned the first Hereford bull at the 25th Brakfontein sale a few years ago as he had done all the Park bull sales until his retirement and Brandon Leer took over. I could ramble on and on about what happened and what was achieved in 2015 at Hobson & Co but it would take weeks. However, what I can say is that I am hugely privileged to live out my passion which is marketing and although it is not always plane sailing, with the right attitude and a bit of common sense we seem to make things work.┬áPlan meticulously, don’t market your stock when everybody is panicking at the same time, be consistent in your marketing strategy, don’t compromise on quality and remember life was never meant to be fair so be prepared for the odd “speed hump” in the road. My late father always used to stress the importance of loyalty in one’s life – it will never let you down! Good luck for 2016, together let us make it a memorable one!