KayJay Angus | Expert knowledge translates into farming excellence

Wairarapa couple, Neil and Joan Kjestrup are justifiably proud of their Angus Stud, KayJay Angus, after all, it’s the reflection of many years’ hard work.

Buyers flock to the annual KayJay Angus two-year-old bull sale on their farm at Wainuioru near Masterton in June, and the yearling Angus bull sale in September, knowing that they can purchase premium quality stock.

“We thoroughly enjoy hosting these days with many bull buyers, agents, friends, and various helpers visiting our farm,” says Joan.

Both Neil and Joan are from farming backgrounds so the huge amount of work needed to run a successful farming business is no surprise.

Neil, who grew up on the farm, is a very experienced stockman and has judged at A & P shows around the country. Twenty-five years ago, the couple purchased a small part of Neil’s parents farm, plus 40 Angus cows and 500 ewes.

It was the era of Rogernomics and interest rates were high, so to curb their overheads Neil and Joan got stuck in doing all the work themselves. This included shearing, docking, tree planting, sheep, cattle and studwork, administration, scanning, branding, hay carting, cropping, fencing and Stud AI.

Their children, Kylie, Jason and Roddy, who were preschoolers at the time, accompanied their parents and later worked in the woolshed and helped at docking time.

As they progressed, Neil and Joan bought more sheep and increased their cattle numbers. They later bought a neighbouring property and this enabled them to build up the Angus Stud and continue its development.

Their enterprise relies on teamwork and with their combined experiences, they complement each other well. Joan was previously secretary for farming-related companies and secretary to the Agricultural Attaché at the American Embassy, Wellington.

At KayJays Joan is kept busy with office administration, helps to organise the bull sales, sends out catalogues and enjoys helping Neil on the farm and with stock in the sheep and cattle yards.

A spin-off from running KayJay Angus stud is the enjoyment they receive from meeting many local and overseas people: clients, friends and stock agents alike.

The couple also enjoy participating and supporting their local school and community activities and say they are fortunate to be part of a caring and supportive community in Wainuioru and the surrounding Wairarapa area.

Joan helps on the Wainuioru school and community committee, is secretary of Wairarapa Angus, and has played a large part in organising local community and Angus events.

Neil is an avid sportsman who played over 100 games for Wairarapa Bush and once trialed for the All Blacks. He is also on several local committees, including the Gladstone Rugby Club, and Wairarapa Angus, and served with the Wainuioru Fire Brigade for many years.

Neil and Joan’s adult children are all involved in the agriculture industry, having graduated from Lincoln University with various degrees.

“We’re very proud of their achievements. Roddy plays a big part in the day-to-day managing of the stud, is a major influence in its direction and does a lot of the NZ Angus Breedplan records,” says Joan.

Both Neil and Joan feel it is important to take time off the farm when they can to enjoy interests, beach trips with family and friends, sports, farm field days and events.

Alistair McLennan (Scotty) and his team at Moore Stephens Markhams play a big role in Neil and Joan’s business and has been an integral part of the success of KayJay Angus.

“Scotty is always very approachable, professional and very prompt to reply to any questions we may have and it’s no problem for him to pop out to the farm to see us, if required.”