Auction boosts farmers’ fund

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A total of $34,000 has so far been donated to the farming families whose sheep were shot near Ngapara recently.

This amount is split between what has been donated to the bank account set up by Rural Women New Zealand ($11,410) and the proceeds of a stock sale held yesterday at the Waiareka Saleyards ($22,500).

A total of 168 sheep, mainly fat and store lambs, and six cattle were auctioned yesterday in what was described as “very spirited bidding”. Many North Otago buyers got in behind the purpose of the sale and paid overinflated prices for stock.

North Otago Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Greg Ruddenklau light-heartedly told the crowd that “if that’s the new sheep prices, it’s looking good”.

CRT and Oamaru Vets donated a triple electric fence reel, drench and a large chillibin which was auctioned, and the Waianakarua and Waiareka Valley Lions’ Clubs helped collect stock before the sale.

The money raised will go toward replacing about 215 sheep, which were shot dead in their paddocks recently. The sheep belonged to the Stackhouse and Dodds families. Oamaru police are still investigating the crime.

Mr Ruddenklau said the number of stock donated showed the level of support for the families whose sheep had been attacked.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Mr Ruddenklau said.

“I’m pretty impressed.

“People have been ringing from all over the country.”

Mark Yeates, livestock manager for PGG Wrightson Limited, said on seeing the number of people present, the comment had been made that there were a lot more good people in the community than bad.

Feelings were still running high yesterday about the nature of the sheep attacks and concern was voiced about the safety of people going about their day-to-day business in the Ngapara area.

There was frustration at the perceived lack of action in the police investigation.

While farmers are renowned for investigating barking dogs and odd noises at night, one farmer raised the question about whether it was the right thing to do in this case, with the offender known to be carrying a firearm.

The lack of regulation surrounding firearms was also discussed with an Ardgowan farmer, who said providing comprehensive records of all his firearms used to be mandatory but that no longer seemed to be the case.

By LINDA MCCARTHY

PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY

UNDER THE HAMMER: Rod Naylor, of PGG Wrightson, auctions a pen of sheep while agent Barry Fox looks for bidders.