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In the rolling hills 20km west of the Kerikeri Inlet and 1000ft above sea level, Shane and Dot Dromgool farm a 200ha dairy operation in conjunction with a 300ha beef unit. They run Dairy Beef alongside 120 Pedigree Beef Shorthorn breeding cows.

Most of the stock on the beef unit are acquired from the dairy unit in the form of Friesian Bulls and Beef Shorthorn X Friesian steers and heifers. Each year 150 Friesian bulls are killed at 24-28 months weighing between 320 and 400kg depending on the season. The Beef shorthorn and Friesian steers are generally sold as forward condition two year old cattle, with premium prices being paid for these, widely sort after blue cattle. These are often sold to repeat buyers who say they are getting good weights and grading better than any other dairy x cattle.

The Shorthorn x heifers are all mated at 14-15 months and kept to rear the calves which are sold early. These calves also make top prices often topping the calf sales on a per kg basis.

The heifers are re-mated and sold on as once calved heifers or killed in June –July at around 220 – 240kg.

The Beef Shorthorn bulls used to breed these crossbred cattle are all selected from the Longview Shorthorn Beef stud which is where Shane and Dots passion for the breed is based. They are breeding moderate framed cattle with lots of meat, low fat covers, large eye muscle area with high marbling traits. With 120 cows and only 20 bulls selected of which 10 – 12 will be sold as breeding bulls , they are among the best you will find in New Zealand.

Shane and Dot have visited the UK, Ireland and Canada looking at cattle they could use to widen the Genetic base of their Shorthorn herd; in particular blood lines that have not been already used in NZ.

Shane said the best cattle in NZ are as good as the best anywhere in the world and our worst are probably better than the worst he has seen. This is because our herds are run as beef herds fed on grass and don’t have faults that are easily hidden by the fact these animals are fed large amounts of grain.

Tel: 09 4019633, Email: s.d.dromgool@actrix.co.nz