With the surprise resignation of John Wilson, the Fonterra board has promoted long-time director John Monaghan as its new chair.
This was confirmed in the farm’s win in the recent Steak of Origin cuisine competition.
Produce from the Simmental cattle won a bronze medal in the steak competition at Fieldays.
Cornwall Park came third in the European breeds section; its cattle are bred from Kerrah Simmental at Tangiwai Station, which won the grand prize for the best steak against finalists from around New Zealand.
It’s the first time in 16 years that Simmental steaks have won the grand prize, which usually goes to Angus or Angus-cross.
Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Rod Slater says while the Simmental win may have surprised some on the day, the breed has been a consistent finalist and won placings in the European breed section for years.
Cornwall Park farm manager Peter Maxwell says the farm switched to Simmental cattle 20 years ago after cows escaped the property a couple of times and ran loose on nearby high-traffic streets.
“We had them running around on Greenlane Road and Great South Road and that became unacceptable.”
Those cattle were a different breed that had come to Cornwall Park after a quiet start to life on rural stations. “They were not used to being exposed to so many people and dogs on the loose.”
So the farm tried Simmental and found success due to their quiet temperament. “After that it was decided to continue with a quiet line of breed cows.”
Eight years ago they began using Kerrah Simmental from the East Coast, finding them a quieter animal for the public to enjoy and better overall for the herd.
“It is a big deal to be able to buy in those bulls. We have measured it and it has lifted the standard of everything we do,” Maxwell says. That includes quieter temperament, improved growth rates, ease of calving, higher meat quality and better polling.
Delighted with the award, Maxwell says the temperament of cattle contributes directly toward meat quality.
“If an animal is of bad temperament when it is trucked, the meat quality can be negatively affected, so good temperament helped with the award.”
The cattle must be comfortable in the environment and safe for the public. “Every bull we have had has settled in well. They have got used to the situation very well,” Maxwell says.
And the visitor experience is enhanced because the cattle adapt well to the hustle and bustle of city life.
“We get positive comments every day about the sheep and the cattle. Overseas visitors love seeing the livestock up close, and NZers often say how it brings back memories of when they used to help their father or uncle on the family farm.”