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Livestock Market Update: Confident South Island farmers drive pre-spring livestock markets
19 August 2021

Livestock Market Update: Confident South Island farmers drive pre-spring livestock markets

Promising winter conditions and steady meat company schedules persuade sheep and beef farmers to maximise stock numbers.

Recent South Island store cattle sales have gone well with prices lifting as farmers position themselves to secure plenty of stock before the start of spring. Steady meat company schedules coupled with strong overseas markets and promising weather are helping stoke the enthusiasm.

Based on encouraging moisture levels in sub soils from abundant rain through the winter strong spring pastoral growth looks likely this year, particularly in North Canterbury and Marlborough, which farmers are seeking to make the most of when temperatures rise, hence maximising stock numbers.

Illustrating this, several Canterbury farmers joined their Otago and Southland counterparts, on 13 August for the Castlerock Spring Cattle Sale. This was the first sale of genuine store cattle for some time, and a test of the yearling market, which has been relatively soft. Over 1000 head were offered, including a strong presence from Nokomai Station, comprising Angus, Hereford, and Angus Cross steers and heifers. With the confident gallery motivated to purchase traditional well-bred cattle and make the most of the expected spring feed flush, prices for the top steers reached $1070 per head, for cattle estimated to weigh somewhere above 300 kilograms. Meanwhile the most sought after heifers fetched $600 to $800.

Similarly, after good demand for in-lamb ewes, and a rising schedule for lambs, as most districts are in or entering lambing, confidence is rising in prospects for sheep. While ideally continued good weather would fulfil farmers’ criteria for survival rates, it is a fine balance as steady rain has been useful to set up a promising spring.

As always, time, and the weather, will tell whether this confidence is borne out. 

Shane Gerken, PGG Wrightson South Island Livestock Manager


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Livestock Market Update: Yearling bulls promise sequel to successful two-year-old bull sales season

19 August 2021

After an outstanding response to their elder brothers, younger bulls go live nationwide in September and October.

Record numbers attended this year’s two-year-old bull sales. Studs put up the genetics that breeders and commercial farmers responded to with plenty of enthusiasm. Quality animals with IMF were in demand across both islands.

In total, running from May to late June, the season recorded sale prices averaging $8,379 across all breeds and an 88 per cent clearance rate of the 3,690 lots offered.

Online purchasers and observers took the season to new levels, with bidr® livestreaming 76 sales online, attracting followers across both islands, as well as in Australia.

Next up the yearling bull season will start in September progressing through the country from the top of the North Island, scheduled for a late October finish in Southland, totalling some 56 sales across the whole series, many again hybrid and offered online by bidr®, as well as onsite.

All breeds will it be represented in the season. Assuming they continue the trends of last year, and of their older brothers, this season’s yearling bulls will start in price from around $1,500, ensuring commercial farmers and breeders easy access to a wide range of high quality genetics. 

Click here to view the Upcoming Yearling Bull Sales.

Callum Stewart, PGG Wrightson Livestock National Genetics Manager 


Livestock Market Update: First ever fully online bull semen sale coming soon

19 August 2021

New opportunity to access quality cattle genetics.

In co-operation with bidr® PGG Wrightson takes the first step in a new genetics initiative on 7 September, with a fully online bull semen sale. 

Various beef studs around New Zealand, incorporating all breeds, are putting up packages from some of their best bulls. This will be a new option to source good quality genetics at competitive rates, promising a wide variety of genetics and EBVs to suit, and therefore something to appeal to breeders, beef and dairy farmers alike.

Plenty of people are now using artificial insemination to add value and advance the genetics of their herds. With the convenience and competition of an online auction, this event will be an easy, low cost, minimum stress way to access the genetic material to achieve just that.

For more information or to list semen for sale, contact Callum Stewart 027 280 2688, and to attend the auction, visit on Tuesday 7 September at 7:00pm. 

Callum Stewart, PGG Wrightson Livestock National Genetics Manager 

Livestock Market Update: Financing bulls with no upfront cost

19 August 2021

Defer-A-Bull helps South Otago sharemilker meet bull team cashflow challenge.

Through September and October with hybrid bidr® and on-farm sales, the yearling bull sale season is a prompt for many farmers to apply for a PGG Wrightson Defer-A-Bull purchase agreement. Defer-A-Bull is a proven winner, providing an ideal opportunity to finance a bull team with no upfront cost and no re-payments until the bulls are sold.

Some farmers have subscribed to Defer-A-Bull for ten years and longer. It offers an ideal opportunity to secure capital to fund annual bull purchases. With Defer-A-Bull farmers can invest in a bull team when they need it, without putting pressure on funds when cashflow can be tight.

Kevin Louw is a 50-50 sharemilker with 650 cows, farming in Paratai, South Otago. After a recommendation from PGG Wrightson Livestock Central Otago Dairy Representative Paul Anthony, Kevin has used Defer-A-Bull for several years, and is fully sold on it.

“As a sharemilker, running a team of bulls each year can be challenging. I’ve tried going AB exclusively, and the empty rate was much higher than I wanted, which leads to lost productivity. 

“To use a full complement of bulls, with separate teams alternating night and day, ensuring they have enough rest and can do their job properly without going lame or becoming exhausted, is expensive. As a sharemilker that throws up a cashflow problem that is impossible to budget for. I need 20 bulls to maximise my in-calf cows, which requires a cash outlay of around $50,000, and there is no way I could do that.

“We looked at Defer-A-Bull as an option. With PGG Wrightson behind it, you know they will source stock from reputable buyers, which mitigates the risk of buying inadequate bulls.

“After they’ve finished, the bulls come out for two to three weeks, we freshen them up, then send them off to the works. PGG Wrightson takes their money, and you get an account for the balance. It’s never a major shock, and you end up with a far lower empty rate, which of course helps profitability.

“Defer-A-Bull allows me to follow best practice managing my bull teams. I want to do that properly: for cashflow reasons I wouldn’t be able to do it any other way.” 

For more information on Defer-A-Bull talk to your local PGG Wrightson rep.

Jamie Cunninghame, PGG Wrightson National Dairy Livestock Manager

Livestock Market Update: Defer-a-Bull campaign artwork

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