Matt Macfie - National Livestock Sales Manager
Despite the ongoing drought and uncertainty around coronavirus, autumn livestock markets are generally positive.
PGG Wrightson Livestock national sales manager Matt Macfie says plenty of sales are providing encouraging signs for farmers.
“Although tallies going through the sales are back, demand remains steady. When the quality of stock is good, buyers are forthcoming. In the face of challenging climatic conditions, the general condition of stock that farmers are presenting to the market remains excellent. While there might be limited buyers, and values have reduced somewhat from what were record levels prior to Christmas, the market is not seriously depleted, and prices are holding up well.
“Markets in various sectors and different parts of the country have reacted positively. For example at the weaner fairs in the Far North, although prices are back by around $100 per head, that is off an all-time high, so still equates to excellent returns. Similarly, lamb prices in Manawatu have lifted,” he says.
Online trading platform and New Zealand’s virtual saleyard bidr has gained momentum in recent weeks, showing the power of the internet and its potential to benefit farmers, says Matt Macfie.
“One particular sale went exceptionally well. Earlier this month we conducted an auction for Elite Charollais of Feilding. On-site and remote bidding were available, we achieved a 100 per cent clearance, with 22 registered buyers from throughout the country, sale prices averaging 30 per cent above reserve and 66 per cent of lots sold to remote bidders,” he says.
bidr also recently announced that it will host and co-ordinate dedicated sales of AngusPure qualifying cattle on the first Tuesday of every month from April. These sales will be exclusively for cattle tagged with an AngusPure source and trace tag, and for clients of the AngusPure partner studs.
“Despite some short term challenges, the global demand for red meat protein remains. Present market activity reflects that, which will continue to serve New Zealand farmers well, particularly when they utilise the innovation at their disposal,” says Matt Macfie.
Shane Gerken - South Island Livestock Manager
As the top half of the South Island is looking for rain, Otago and Southland have had good rainfalls over the past weeks.
Store Lamb pricing has gained momentum as Cropping Farmers are looking to purchase store lambs for the Autumn and Winter Trade. Depending on quality, weight and sex, store lambs are making between $3.40 – 3.60kg.
Store Cattle pricing is still sluggish as Farmers wait for kill space and the dry in parts of the South Island has slowed demand. There was plenty of trepidation heading into this week’s Southern Man 18-month cattle fair in Lorneville. There were good quality offerings of traditional Angus and Hereford stock as well as a selection of exotic Simmental and Charolais steers. Pricing was a bit better than expected. The bulk of the yarding was in the 350-420kg weight range selling for $2.70-$2.85kg, while a smaller offering of 450kg plus steers sold for $2.55-$2.65/kg.
Jamie Cunningham - National Dairy Sales Manager
With many parts of the country showing significant stress due to the dry conditions. Our teams are busy supporting our clients as best as we can, offering the best possible marketing advice in what has been a challenging summer.
The great news is that quality surplus dairy stock is still well sought after and pricing on quality lines has held up very well. The forward sales tallies of herds and heifers are ahead of the same period last year, with pricing on par. It’s important that herds and heifers are monitored through this dry period and vendors are mindful of condition which comes off easy in these prolonged dry conditions.
We currently have large enquiry for young empty cows with good records across most parts of the country and we are seeing great premium’s on cull values, please discuss with your local agent regarding options.
It’s great to see that parts of the South Island have started to respond already with the early autumn rains and cooler temperatures with feed conditions improving by the day in large parts.
Our dairy clearing sales will start around the country in mid/late April and I’m sure as always these will offer an opportunity for farmers looking for quality animals to buy at all spectrums of the market.
If you are looking at attending these sales or wanting to know what’s coming up, please be sure to contact your local PGG Wrightson rep.
We wish all our clients the best of luck for the autumn months ahead and look forward to assisting you with any Dairy Livestock requirements that you may have.
Callum Stewart - National Genetics Manager
PGG Wrightson were proud sponsors of the World Hereford Conference, held in Queenstown last week from the 8th to 13th March.
First day kicked off with a fine start with the young breeders competition at Waiau Herefords in Southland. Teams were tested in a series of modules, including genetics, fencing, AgriBusiness, butchery and animal health.
The second day Young Breeders Competition spent the day at Monymusk farm for their stock judging day. Competitors judged fleece, beef cattle and sheep and being asked to speak on the yearling heifers. They then attended the WHC Welcome Reception in Queenstown, getting the opportunity with all those in attendance.
The third day they delved into their presentations, the topic of which was “if you were a person of influence, what would you do to close the urban/rural divide?” USA took first place, NZ Hereford second and Denmark third.
The fourth day the youth teams had the chance to experience more of the South Island. Starting at the Shotover Jet, they carried onto Arrowtown for a small break before heading to Cromwell for lunch. After which they joined the rest of the conference at Locharburn Hereford’s where they enjoyed a technical session with Bill Austin around how we ultrasound for internal fats in beef cattle.
They then moved onto Wanaka Showgrounds where set up began for the clipping and parading competition, held Thursday and Friday; but not before a dip in the lake!
In autumn, lice populations on cattle increase. This is due to temperature and humidity levels becoming more favourable for lice survival on the animals. Lice populations rise to reach their peak in winter and early spring.
In New Zealand, there are two types of lice, a sucking species which pierces the skin and feed on tissue fluids, and a biting lice which feeds on the surface debris of skin. Both cause irritation to the animal resulting in rubbing or licking, hair loss, and damage to the hide.
Damage to fencing or troughs is often a result of excessive rubbing by cattle. The most visible areas of hair loss are generally on the neck, shoulders and along the flanks. As temperatures cool down and coat thickness increases, the environment for lice is more favourable for population increases. With increased numbers, the frequency and intensity of rubbing behaviour by cattle escalates.
Lice can’t fly and need close animal to animal contact to spread in a herd. They don’t survive long off the animal. This is important in the management of lice as all animals need treating, especially if mixing of mobs is occurring.
When treating animals for lice, it is best to start in late summer or early autumn when lice numbers are lower and coat thickness is less, allowing greater amounts of chemical exposure to the lice population.
There are three chemical groups that are currently registered for use in cattle in New Zealand. Pour On organophosphates (for example Destruct) or synthetic pyrethroids (for example Blaze or Delmax) target lice and nuisance flies. On the other hand, Mectin based products target both internal worms and lice, for example Cydectin, Dualmax.
It is important to note that when any of these products are applied in winter, on animals with full coats or covered in mud or faeces, only suppression of lice numbers will be achieved at best. Lice numbers rebuild again over six to eight weeks, often requiring another treatment. This is due to some lice escaping a lethal dose of drugs in thick coats, and none of the drugs having an effective persistent effect on lice or killing eggs.
The take-home message for lice management is to treat animals early when lice numbers are low, so population control is managed better. For further information call into your local PGG Wrightson store or talk to your local Technical Field Representative.