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24 November 2021

Ram sale season showing red meat's strength

Selections focus on FE, worms, marbling and progeny performance

This year's annual ram sale season is underway, showing the current strength of the red meat sector. 


Clients are focused on genetics resilient or resistant to facial eczema and worms. Eating quality is a critical factor in most purchaser decisions, with marbling increasingly sought after. As always, the performance of progeny is a key criterion sought for in the rams offered for sale.


Some new breeds featured strongly in the early sales as purchasers look to try out innovative genetics. Grassendale Terminal, featuring Beltex-Suffolk cross rams, were among the first sales of the season in Masterton, clearing 78 lots at an average of $1642 and a top prize of $2600. In Frankton, Nikau Coopworth's sale, with stock strong on facial eczema resistance and performance, sold 94 rams averaging $2286. 


New Zealand's virtual sale yard bidr® continues to gain traction at the sales, particularly for those parts of the country in stricter lockdown. In the sale for Waimai Romney, in Te Akau, 14 per cent of the 120 lot offering sold via bidr®. Overall the Waimai sale averaged $2825 per ram and scored a top prize of $8700.


Meanwhile, Charblack terminal rams posted a total clearance of the 39 lots offered at an average of $1343.


Alongside the auctions, those buying and selling privately are witnessing similar trends and prices. Most farmers realise that a ram is a highly significant investment. With progeny potentially remaining part of a flock for seven years, the comparatively cheap up-front investment in a ram can put tens or hundreds of thousands on the bottom line for farmers in the medium and long term.


The ram sale season will run through until mid-December in the North Island, while South Island ram sales will continue until mid-February.

Callum Stewart, PGG Wrightson Livestock National Genetics Manager 

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Elite Winton herd offered as New Zealand's first online dairy herd sale

22 November 2021

Online livestock sales, which have gained plenty of traction under Covid, look set to go to a new level next month, with an elite Southland Friesian herd set to become the biggest single livestock offering sold so far online.

PGG Wrightson Southern South Island Dairy Livestock Manager Mark Cuttance is overseeing New Zealand's first online dairy herd sale. Winton farmers Simon and Liz Harnett's cow herd, which Mark Cuttance says ranks in Southland's top two per cent, is offered for sale by bidr on December 9th. 

"This is the first time PGG Wrightson has sold a dairy herd online.

"Usually, when you sell a herd, prospective buyers are the people you already know. Marketing their herd by online livestock platform bidr gives the Harnett's access to dairy farmers throughout the country, dramatically extending the range of potential purchasers. 

"This is an excellent herd, particularly well suited to this groundbreaking selling format," says Mark. 

PGG Wrightson Southland Dairy Representative Roddy Bridson has worked with Simon and Liz Harnett for several years. 

"You'd go a long way to find better operators than the Harnett's, which is evident in their herd. These cows are great looking animals, with good capacity, grown to their potential, ranking high on productivity with low inputs. 

"Genetics is a key part of Liz and Simon's farming philosophy. Dairying has been their life and passion, which this herd demonstrates perfectly," says Roddy.

Jamie Cunninghame, PGG Wrightson National Dairy Livestock Manager, says Covid and uncertainty around lockdown levels have resulted in more online sales. 

"More people are doing more business online generally, and farmers are also finding the benefits of bidr, New Zealand's virtual sale yard, more quickly than they otherwise would if Covid hadn't occurred. Under Covid, if the lockdown alert levels change, an online sale can still proceed with minimal disruption. Online sales will not replace on farm or sale yard auctions, though they are a new option that has great advantages for some sales, particularly those with potential to attract buyers nationwide," says Jamie.

Scheduled for auction on Thursday, December 9th at 1 pm, with approximately 360 two to eight-year-old cows offered from a total of 440 in milk. 

For more information or to register for the Simon and Liz Harnett auction, see:


Download sale details here >> 

Red meat prospects positive for South Island farmers

24 November 2021

Warmer conditions after a late spring, plus excellent export demand, drive optimism

A late start to the spring slowed grass growth in the South Island, meaning some early lambs gained less weight than farmers look for. However, with plenty of rain, the season began in earnest once temperatures rose from late October.


Coupled with what have become excellent feed conditions, the current schedule and market outlook are driving strong prices through South Island cattle sales. Premiums are on offer for well-bred traditional breeds, and demand through the whole South Island is solid.


Meanwhile, as drafting commences on early spring lambs and with a favourable schedule in prospect, farmers are looking forward to excellent returns for lamb and mutton. Back slightly due to the earlier colder conditions, lamb weights stand to catch up quickly with the better weather that has prevailed more recently.


As ever, China has a significant influence on the red meat market. Chinese demand for protein remains high, particularly relative to the continued incidence of swine flu affecting China's domestic pork production. Australian farmers rebuilding their national cattle herd and sheep flock after several dry years, retaining capital stock they would otherwise finish, underscores New Zealand's excellent short and medium-term global position. Strong demand for chilled lamb from the traditional United Kingdom and Europe markets also underpins these good prospects.

Shane Gerken, PGG Wrightson South Island Livestock Manager

Positive signs for a healthy season of dairy herd forward sales

24 November 2021

Farmers considering offering herds for purchase need to start preparing now

Listings for forwarding sales of dairy herds for settlement on 1 May and 1 June 2022 are starting to come onto the market. Any farmer considering selling a herd should contact their livestock representative now. 


Early planning is essential. An optimal marketing plan will help secure maximum value. Herds with both autumn and spring calving cows and heifers generally come forward at this time of year. 


While it is too soon to predict how values will trend, early sales have been encouraging. A powerful Global Dairy Trade sends positive market messages throughout the sector, which we are hopeful will flow into the dairy stock market and enable vendors to capitalise.


In those circumstances, the key to optimising value is to talk to your livestock representative early, discuss the sales process in detail, and plan accordingly. When you use PGG Wrightson to sell your dairy herd on a forward contract, we will make sure we leave no stone unturned to create the best market possible. 


For more information check

Jamie Cunninghame, PGG Wrightson National Dairy Livestock Manager 


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