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24 November 2021

Red meat prospects positive for South Island farmers

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

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Ram sale season showing red meat's strength

24 November 2021

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 

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 


North Island rebounding from slow, chilly start to spring

24 November 2021

Cattle, yearlings, weaners and lambs all selling well 

By early November, the North Island's slow, chilly start to spring had ended, temperatures were rising, and the grass was growing fast. Particularly gratifying: Hawke's Bay, in drought for the past three years, received plenty of rain at an ideal time, with the moisture appearing to have soaked in, setting up perfect ideal conditions. 


North Island cattle and yearling markets have responded well. Although a few sales have dropped slightly on comparative needs, in most instances, we are close to record prices through the saleyards, statistics that optimistic red meat schedules fully justify.


Demand for dairy beef weaners is solid, particularly for beef cross heifers and steers. At the same time, results for Friesian bulls have initially been mixed across most regions, though they should rise as spring grass growth accelerates. 


New-season lambs are starting to come to the market. Given the circa $9.50 per kilogram schedule, prices align with expectations, noting that many lambs around most regions are looking for a good dose of sun to bring on the bloom they would typically display at this point of the season.


Some covid frustration is creeping in, with those operating in lockdown level three suffering most. These conditions pose challenges for agents, saleyard staff and especially for purchasers, with some obstacles in travel to locations. Where at all possible, in those locked down areas, we are attempting to live-stream significant sales, with the uptake and results through bidr® playing a substantial part. 


Matt Langtry, PGG Wrightson North Island Livestock Manager

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