Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Ewan McGregor H.B.’s Agricultural and Pastoral history

Ewan McGregor is the speaker at the April Landmarks History Talk. He will speak on The Road to Tomoana 1863 to 1925 – the origins of the Hawke’s Bay agricultural industry and the formation of the Hawke’s Bay Agricultural & Pastoral Society.
This talk will be held upstairs at the Hastings Library from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Tuesday 9 April 2013.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Kevin Hansen Horse of the Year

Kevin Hansen talks about the Horse of the Year Show

The Horse of the Year Show continues to grow in prestige and stature not only within New Zealand, where it is now recognised as one of the main annual sporting events, but also on the World Equestrian Stage where it has now become one of the premier events. Although dominated by Showjumping and Dressage, the Show is now home to 17 different Equestrian Disciplines all competing on the beautiful 100 acres of the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds.
With a record number of trade stands and good visitor numbers, this year's show has been another great success

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Brian James Part 2 - "The Rise & Fall of the Historic Stock & Station Industry - Part 2"

He will give part two of his fascinating lecture titled “The Journey through 150 years of the Stock and Station Industry and the tumultuous years of amalgamations, mergers and characters that dominated the 1990s”.

By 1980 amalgamations had reduced this group to seven: Allied Farmers’ Co-operative (Auckland and Waikato); Farmers’ Co-operative Organisation Society (Taranaki); Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Co-operative Association; New Zealand Farmers’ Co-operative Association (Canterbury); Canterbury Farmers’ Co-operative Association (South Canterbury); Reid Farmers Ltd (Dunedin); and Southland Farmers’ Co-operative Association.

Allied Farmers

In 2008 Allied Farmers, based in Taranaki and the central North Island, was the only remaining farmers’ cooperative, dealing in merchandise, livestock, wool, real estate and financial services. Incorporated in Taranaki in 1913 as a farmers’ cooperative, it later merged with King Country Farmers, Manawatu Livestock and Waikato Farmers. Allied Farmers provides merchandise, livestock, wool, real estate and financial services over most of the North Island, and has an annual turnover of more than $400 million.

An expanding sector

By the start of the 20th century farmers were served by at least 40 regional and national agencies, ranging from one-man bands to companies employing hundreds. The national companies were Wright Stephenson, New Zealand Loan & Mercantile Agency, National Mortgage & Agency Co. of New Zealand (NMA) and Dalgety & Co.
The big agencies faced vigorous competition from smaller regional firms and farmer-owned cooperatives. Companies joined together to build saleyards and wool stores.


After the wool boom of the early 1950s, livestock and wool prices fell. Stock and station agencies’ commissions fell too, and dairy company-owned stores provided competition. The bigger stock and station companies began taking over the smaller ones, to extend their regional coverage and for economies of scale. Businessman Sir Ronald Trotter observed that when he began in the industry in the late 1950s there were 45 companies competing. When he retired as chairman of Wrightson in 1998 there were only five – Wrightson, Pyne Gould Guinness, Williams & Kettle, Allied Farmers and Elders New Zealand.

Jack of all trades

One stock agent claimed that a successful agent ‘must be a Nationalist, a staunch Labour man, a Social Credit disciple, a Catholic, a Protestant, a technician, a politician, a mathematician, an all-round mechanic, and, on occasion, a Communist. He must be an expert driver, talker, traveller, bridge player, golfer, bowler, diplomat, a football maniac, an authority on astrology, dogs, cats, sheep, cattle, horses, all types of leases, water rights and noxious weeds. The person with all these qualifications is truly entitled to the initials C.S.S.A. after his name – Country Stock and Station Agent.’1

Final mergers

Seven years after Trotter’s comments, the first three merged as PGG Wrightson. This brought together six big families of companies which began to coalesce in the 1960s. Dalgetys had merged with NZ Loan & Mercantile in 1962, and NMA with Wright Stephenson in 1972. The Crown Group made several consolidations in the 1970s, and merged with Dalgety New Zealand in 1983. Dalgety Crown was bought by Wrightson NMA in 1986.
Wrightson was floated as a public company in 1993, partly taken over by Rural Portfolio Investments in 2004, and acquired Williams & Kettle in 2005. That same year it merged with Pyne Gould Guinness and became PGG Wrightson, which is a listed company traded on the New Zealand stock exchange.

PGG Wrightson

PGG Wrightson (and its predecessors Wright Stephenson and Wrightson) has always been active in Australia, particularly selling pasture seeds. It also sells seeds and develops dairy farms in Uruguay, and had an annual turnover of more than $1 billion in the early 2000s.

Other agencies

Elders Australia was active in New Zealand in the 1980s, buying smaller agencies and attempting to prevent the 1986 merger of Wrightson and Dalgety. However, when its parent company ran into difficulties, Elders retreated across the Tasman. It left behind the finance business and some livestock agents, which formed a private company. In the early 2000s, Elders New Zealand is a privately-owned company which is rebuilding a national network of livestock, wool and real estate agents, along with some merchandise outlets and financial products. It has a joint venture with broker Primary Wool, and buys in products and services from Elders in Australia.
The Allied Farmers group covers most of the North Island with merchandise, livestock, wool, real estate and financial services.
There are also many private livestock agents who operate throughout New Zealand.

Other suppliers

In the early 2000s, farmers use many other suppliers. There are cooperative supply stores like RD1, Farmlands and CRT (Combined Rural Traders). Stock and station agencies no longer sell or represent farm machinery, and some fertiliser and chemical companies sell direct to farmers.
Rural finance is now vigorously contested by all major trading banks and some specialised rural lenders. Agencies have only a small portion of total rural lending – around $30 billion, mainly seasonal finance for livestock and crops.