Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : March 2010 Contents The Dairyman MARCH 2010 11
AWAIKATO livestock manager with
42 years in the industry has attended
sales from Kaitaia to Invercargill,
exported animals all around the world and
made a lot of good friends along the way.
Brian Robinson grew up on a dairy farm in
Levin and in April 1968 he was employed by
Wright Stephenson & Co, then transferred to
Palmerston North and in 1972 went on the
road as an agent covering the eastern side of
the Manawatu River, Tokomaru, Linton and
Massey up to Ashhurst and Pohangina
Another transfer in 1975 saw him arrive in
the Waikato to work with Jersey, Ayrshire
and Holstein Friesian pedigree dairy clients.
He stayed with the company throughout all
the amalgamations that took place between
1975-1985, then left Wrightson NMA. After
a brief stint as a field officer for the New
Zealand Holstein Association he began
employment with New Zealand Agricultural
Exports (Agex), part of the Wallace empire
Brian was the cattle manager based in
Cambridge from 1986-1996 and was
involved in live exporting Saiwahl cross cat-
tle (Taurindicus), all dairy breeds and milk-
ing goats along with some live sheep exports
A company merger saw him work for
Animal Enterprises Limited (AEL) and then
Livestock Enterprises Limited (LEL) spe-
cialising in selling dairy cattle. Then in 2000
he was appointed the New Zealand dairy
manager for PGG Wrightson.
In 2008 Brian left PGG Wrightson to "step
back and do his own thing" and formed
Brian Robinson Livestock Limited but still
has a contract with PGG Wrightson to run
their pedigree dairy auction sales which start
Brian is also a co-opted director of Jersey
New Zealand and helps run auctions for
them. "I have been in the industry since
1968, either the local market or export, and
found it interesting and varied and have met
a lot of good people and made a lot of
friends," Brian said.
"I have met a lot of characters in the live-
stock industry over the years."
He has witnessed many changes during his
career, like purchasing cattle based on infor-
mation written on the backs of envelopes, to
more recent times, relying on more in-depth
"Now data is emailed or texted to us and
people tend to buy cattle more on index than
they used to -- they might not be the best cat-
tle but higher indexed animals sell the best."
Brian believed the majority of people used
to have a better eye for stock, whereas nowa-
days they relied on figures in AB catalogues.
"They should back their own judgment,
but this doesn't appear to be how farmers of
today want it."
Over the years Brian has done a lot of
announcing at shows and dairy events in
New Zealand and Australia but especially
remembers a show (Expointier) in Brazil
which saw 100,000 people go through the
gate every day for 10 days.
Highlights of his career include getting
cattle and milking goats up to Russia; 4000
Friesian heifers to Thailand each year for
three years; and a shipment of 2500 Friesians
to Indonesia in the early '90s resulting in no
losses because of the pre-conditioning
undertaken prior to shipping.
He travelled with a planeload of Jersey
cattle 23.5 hours from Auckland via Papeete,
Easter Island, Santiago and over the Andes
into Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"We had organised a plane but the
Americans commandeered it to take troops
into the Middle East during the first Gulf
War and we had to renegotiate another plane
flown by a Nigerian crew," Brian said.
"We were all crammed into this plane with
123 Jersey cattle but it was an amazing expe-
Brian said he enjoyed being involved with
exporting livestock and said he had many
great experiences including being responsi-
ble for the first dairy cattle shipment out of
New Zealand to Brazil.
He was part of a Trade and Enterprise del-
egation to South America and made a lot of
contacts. He has been to Brazil nine times
and made a lot of friends there.
With his network of friends and contacts
and interest from New Zealander's he is cur-
rently organising a tour of Peru, Brazil,
Uruguay, Argentina and Chile in June/July
"There will be sightseeing, shopping and
we will visit several farms and not just dairy
farms -- sheep, beef, poultry, citrus and sugar
cane," Brian said. "We will visit a 3000-cow
dairy farm and a Brazilian farmer with a mil-
lion laying hens."
Brian said his business was a way of life,
and looking to the future he said he would
keep doing what he was doing.
"I enjoy doing it and I enjoy the people."
He reminisced about how great it was to
be involved with the PGG Wrightson IHC
calf scheme, which Colin Meads is patron of.
He said it felt like you were really working
to help people in the community. He also
recalled that in the early 80s he was involved
in the sale of Tahora Star Jewell, a Holstein
Friesian Royal Show champion cow, for
"I have been to sales from Kaitaia to
Invercargill, had a lot of laughs, fun and
good times and experiences good and bad
and developed a lot of friendships -- it is the
contact with people I enjoy."
Brian said his business is a way of life and looking to the future he will "keep doing
what he is doing".
Business a way of life for Brian
"We were all crammed
into this plane with
123 Jersey cattle but it
was an amazing
--- Brian Robinson
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