Livestock Market Update: Winter arrives in North Island
A couple of weeks after a reasonable drop of rain in most districts, winter hit the North Island in late June with a strong polar blast dropping temperatures to low single digits. Underfoot conditions became sloppy and the weather caused several road closures.
Moisture was particularly welcome in Hawke’s Bay, under pressure following an extremely dry summer and autumn. While the region has developed a pleasing green tinge, the resumption of warm conditions is necessary to facilitate additional pastoral growth through the rest of winter to help these farmers back on track.
North Island livestock sales have been strong recently, including bull sales.
East Coast bull sales in late June were particularly strong. A determined bench of stud and commercial buyers from across the country, competing online and in person, made for some solid averages. A highlight of the week was when Kaharau Angus notched up a record on-farm auction price for a bull at $106,000.
In Northland the dispersal sale of one of the original Wagyu herds attracted plenty of attention. NZ Purebred Wagyu Ltd, founded by the late Mike McCool with the first Wagyu calves born in 1992, sold 562 head of Wagyu in late June. Held at the Wellsford Saleyards under the expert supervision of Richard Healey and the Northland PGG Wrightson Livestock team, cattle sold included yearling heifers, sire bulls and steers. Purchasers from throughout the country attended, in person and online via bidr®, with significant numbers of stock heading to the South Island. Cows sold at up to $3350. A further 450 head will go to auction next autumn, which will mark the end of an era for the McCool family.
Elsewhere the schedule is driving lamb tallies through the sales, resulting in the strongest North Island lamb prices seen for some time, while the wetter underfoot conditions and strengthening schedules are resulting in tallies of heavier store cattle coming to market.