Buyer caution after paying high prices last year for yearling cattle they still hold affected the Matawhero spring sale in Gisborne on Tuesday 6 November. Prices at the sale matched the general market rather than setting the market as they do typically.
More than 3,000 cattle, mainly yearlings but also rising two-year animals, were yarded, most of them high-value Angus or Angus-cross.
PGG Wrightson East Coast regional livestock manager Jamie Hayward said, “The steers and heifers were in excellent order but buyer numbers were down. As well as those cautious through not yet selling some of last year’s buys some usual Hawke’s Bay buyers stayed away because of uncertainty about pasture growth on their farms in the windy, dry weather. Some of them were people who could buy up to 500 yearlings to take home. It was a hard sale. The confidence was down a bit. There were more Manawatu buyers this year and others as usual from King Country and Waikato.”
The sale, the biggest event on the calendar for PGW’s Gisborne livestock team, has a relatively small number of vendors but they are spread over a wide area and have a lot of cattle and Monday is a big day to get the stock in at the yards with a dawn start on Tuesday to get the rest in ahead of the sale start.
Mangaheia Station at Tolaga Bay is one of the major vendors and has topped the price list over the last seven years and was among the top sellers again this year. Its top line of 45 Angus yearling steers, averaging 410kg, were sold to a Manawatu farmer for $1370 a head. A big line of 169 Angus yearling steers, averaging $375kg, were split across a number of buyers with the top 57 fetching $1235 a head. A line of 16 white-faced Angus-cross yearling steers, the last whiteface cattle to be sold off the station, at an average weight of 415kg sold at $1335. Another line of 65 Angus yearling steers at 350kg sold for $1155.
Hayward said that of the 3,000 cattle, from a small number of vendors quite widely spread geographically, 1500 were yearling steers and 70 percent were Angus or Angus cross. There were also half a dozen pens of exotic cattle. The best Charolais cattle were keenly sought after. The leading pen, heavy at 445kg, sold at $1480 each. The best yearling heifers, also Charolais, at 350kg were sold at $1050 a head, for fattening.
Weather and pasture conditions in part of Hawke’s Bay had not so far allowed farmers to get the weight on some of the animals they bought last year. Hawke’s Bay has been windy and dry for several weeks after having just got over the severe rain during lambing, which produced big stock losses.
Mangaheia Station manager Leo Edginton was happy with the prices his stock achieved. “They are good yearling steers and have done well on the pretty hard hill country.” The 2700ha station has 800
Angus breeding cows and 11,000 Romney breeding ewes plus lambs and hoggets. Edginton is always keen to get the store cattle off the property in early November so he can focus on finishing the lambs to good weights.