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3 February 2020

Busy start to 2020 for wool market

Brought to you by PGG Wrightson Wool and The Country.

The Country's Rowena Duncum kick starts this year's wool report with PGG Wrightson's South Island wool procurement manager Rob Cochrane. It is the middle of crossbred wool season and things are looking busy.

The wool growers for 2020 are very active at this time of year with the summer shearing still going strong.

However, Cochrane notes "the wool quality is battling a little bit, and generally the wool market hasn't moved very much".

Colour contamination continues to be an issue of late. Cochrane says some of this can be attributed to the humidity. Cochrane adds that raddle marks are less frequent as growers are taking more care of their flocks.

Lamb's wool is not performing as well as it has been in previous weeks. Cochrane says this might be a glitch in the system or might be influenced by recent events in China.

Duncum queries if wool auctions will feature at any of the rural Field Days this year.

Cochrane says at this stage that the wool auctions will stay with Hawkes Bay and Canterbury A and P Shows.

Cochrane anticipates that the market will remain consistent for the next few weeks to come.

Related Articles

Setting the girls up for tupping

01 February 2020

Good management of the ewe flock leading into tupping has significant impacts on next season’s weaning, with potentially an increased number of lambs weaned and heavier weights. The cost of feeding an ewe is fairly constant, but what is often overlooked is the lost production from those ewes with low body fat reserves.  

Ewes that have a Body Condition Score (BCS) of 3 or more (the scale is 1 to 5, so 3 is not too fat and not too thin) bring more lambs into the yards at weaning. The ewe’s survival is also improved (lowered death rates and more likely to be in-lamb) and heavier lambs are born with greater brown fat content to help them survive inclement weather at lambing.  

More is not always better. Even though there are always fatter ewes in the mob, ewes that are greater than BCS 4 do not necessarily have higher production. It can be worth managing this group separately as they have the tendency to get even fatter due to their dominance in the mob. In late pregnancy, these ewes are also at higher risk of metabolic disease trying to waddle into the yards for vaccinating or set stocking. 

We are still learning how to manage triplet ewes close to lambing, and feeding them too much high quality grass or sudden diet changes are a high risk.

The only way to determine which ewes are too light is putting your hand on them to assess their body condition. Drafting on eye alone misses those ewes that could benefit from gaining half a BCS (about 4 kg) and only identifies the ewes that are one or more BCS too low.  

These low BCS ewes need to gain weight before tupping. Preferential feeding is the most important factor here. The low BCS ewes are not necessarily the ones that are being more impacted by worms than the others. A faecal egg count and larval culture gives you a good indication of the severity of the worm burden and what species are present, as some have a greater impact than others. If the result is much higher than you expected, then test other mobs as well. Ewes that do not gain BCS may have other underlying diseases, such as facial eczema, damaged livers, pneumonia or missing teeth.  

Ewes that are able to maintain a BCS of 3 are easier to manage and do not require costly feeding, as the response of these ewes to pre-tup flushing is minimal. This requires constant management of the mob throughout late summer and early autumn, with the result being more kilograms of lamb weaned per ewe.  

For help getting your ewes to the right BCS, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative or visit the PGG Wrightson YouTube channel.

The Livestock Report 13 February 2020

14 February 2020

Peter Moore, GM of PGG Wrightson Livestock joins Jamie McKay on the country.

He says coronavirus and drought is combining to produce a perfect storm and a gridlock which is putting downward pressure on prices.

Livestock Market Update - February 2020

18 February 2020

South Island Sheep & Beef

Shane Gerken - South Island Livestock Manager

The bulk of the on farm lamb sales are now completed, overall the lamb sales have gone reasonable well, as there has been good buying support throughout the South Island especially cropping farmers who are starting to purchase.

The ewe market continues steadily for ewes trading in the paddock. Twotooth ewes continue to sell, generally prices are $200-$250 with some good lines making over $300. Annual Draft ewes are selling in the range of $130-$170.  

The store cattle trade is quiet, with those selling having to lower their price expectations to meet the market. Would-be vendors are hanging out for improved conditions and are not willing to offload stock on a soft market. The declining beef schedules and long waits for kill space hasn’t helped the overall situation.


North Island Sheep & Beef

Matt Macfie - National Livestock Sales Manager

After a fantastic run right up into December it has been a challenging start to the year in the North Island. Great weather for summer holidays unfortunately means challenging times for our farmer clients now experiencing drought conditions across nearly all parts of the Island. Having recently visited with the Northern team in Whangarei I got to see and hear the on the ground situation and water is in very short supply across the north. Kaikoke and north of there has literally dried up with schools and meat processors being closed for part of the week due to lack of water. This region is desperate for water and as I write this report there is still nothing in the forecast that suggests anything different in the near future.

And of course added to the dry conditions is the impact the Coronavirus  is having on our export markets. This has put a strain on available space for processing and schedule prices are falling back quickly. While the impact has been serious and immediate if we look to similar instances (SARS outbreak) they don’t usually have a long term lifespan and once the issue has been dealt with demand and price can very quickly come back to similar levels.

Talking with the NI team there is general acceptance that the livestock we would have normally already traded by now is still on the land and waiting for both rain and processing space to become available. This means that while the larger volumes are not currently moving, at some point they will and we will then be inundated with volumes.

We all look forward to that happening!



Jamie Cunningham - National Dairy Sales Manager 

With the dry conditions throughout the North Island and the Flooding in Southland it would be fair to say that things are becoming quite challenging for our clients and our dairy beef market is feeling the impact of this.

Its pleasing to see that in the last week a large number of export heifers have gone into quarantine and that the affects of the Coronavirus hasn’t had an impact on this to date, the export space is very competitive at present and the demand for the rising one year heifers is looking to continue for the foreseeable future, this is a very valuable market for our clients and something that we need to support as much as possible as the cashflow ability of this should not be underestimated.

Dairy forward contracts are starting to come in well now and we have seen a large increase over the last few weeks, to date values are holding on very well on the forward sales and the quality stock are well sort after. As we deal with the dry conditions its very important that we are proactive with our vendors and have discussions around cow condition early and that we support both vendor and purchaser through this process. If you do have surplus dairy livestock to sell, cows or heifers please contact your local PGG Wrightson agent.

One of our biggest challenge at present is works space for cull cows as the meat processors are at capacity with chiller space its very important that you plan ahead and get space booked well in advance (currently can be 3 weeks plus wait).

As we look forward to the Autumn rain and cooler weather, we hope that all parts of the country have a speedy recovery as that will enable farmers to get setup for the Winter.



Callum Stewart - National Genetics Manager

If your looking for an alternative in your breeding strategies, coming up this month on the 27th we have a Major Flock Reduction online sale which will be hosted by Bidr - our virtual sale yards. Elite Charollais have the biggest diversity of the breed in genetics than any other breeder, these sheep are well known for meat quality and yield. Please click on the link and if you would like to know more don’t hesitate to get in touch. https://bidr.co.nz/auction/189

Our Genetics team have set up a Facebook and Instagram page so head on over and give us a like this page will consist of latest sale updates, company news, and industry insights – see you there!

Wiltshire’s are currently in the spotlight and offering people another alternative, this breed has become popular amongst farmers with the ability to fully shred, resistance to FE and performance and phenotype. I think no matter what your looking for in your program - the genetics in the wider agriculture industry have shown good attributes and always looking at advancing.

While we still have a handful of Ram sales to go in March, this is a prime opportunity to be talking with the specialists around your breeding programs and also your bull requirements moving forward, we can offer sound advice and the latest insights to help build robust future proofed systems.

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