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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Wood

Tecka Livestock Auction

Late spring is a great time to be in Welsh Patagonia - that's when the big farms have their sheep and cattle auctions. And everyone's invited. A couple of weeks ago, the Leleque ranch ("Estancia" in Spanish), owned by the Italian Benetton family, auctioned off a few hundred of their 100,000 Merino sheep and almost 9,000 Hereford cattle that roam the 1 million acre farm near Esquel. The guests were treated to a slap-up lunch prior to the auction and their bidding fingers were loosened by waiters carrying trays of whisky and wine.

Yesterday, it was the turn of Estancia Tecka to roll out the earthen carpet. The estancia is one of the most important fly fishing lodges in Patagonia and its 70,000 hectares house a goodly number of sheep and cattle. We drove down to the little town of Tecka (Hafn Lâs in Welsh), about 90 km south of Esquel, with the intention of buying a few cattle for the family farm. After an excellent lunch the auction unloaded every single lot, all at quite generous prices. Pregnant Hereford cows were sold at about $900 each (typically in lots of 20 animals) and expectant Merino sheep went for about $45, typically in lots of a hundred. Those with finer wool (16.3 microns) went for $55. The rams went for $50 each. We managed to buy 20 cows and my father-in-law's brother Coco bought 40 for his farm in Corcovado.

There was a considerable Patagonia Welsh farming presence at the event.

In the photos, the new owner of Estancia Amancay, Miguel Mirantes, takes time off from his always-busy tea house in Gaiman, Ty Te Caerdydd (where Lady Diana had a cuppa on her visit in 1995), to joke with Arnold Dalar Evans, son of Vicente Evans, one of the stalwarts of the Welsh community in Trevelin. Standing with the paper in his hand is the lucky buyer, my brother-in-law, Alejandro Luque. He had the job of transporting the cows back to the farm.

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