Rural Supplies
18 February 2019

PGG Wrightson Livestock Roundup - February 15 2019

Mark Leishman talks to PGW Livestock GM, Peter Moore in the latest Livestock Update.  This week’s interview focuses on the dry weather and how it’s affecting livestock trading, MBovis Management and Health & Safety in the rural industry.


Dry weather affects livestock trading

There’s been a slight change in livestock trading patterns because of dry weather across large parts of the country, with reduced feed available, farmers are letting go of their stock, causing a drop in price with supply outstripping demand. 


MBovis Management

We’re now seeing good progress with farmers getting their heads around how to manage MBovis, along with understanding the risks, which is good for the industry.


H&Safety culture in Rural NZ

With five on farm fatalities so far this year, we need to work hard to change attitudes to improve the Health & Safety culture in the rural industry.

Livestock Update February 2019
8 February 2019

Livestock Market Update February 2019

Sheep & Beef

Most of the South Island has plenty of feed, which has helped drive store stock pricing, especially lamb sales.

Store lamb prices have been at a historic high as buyers compete for lambs.

Red and Wapiti stags  have been keenly sort after at  recent sales which has resulted in record prices. This due to high venison and velvet prices over the last couple of years.

All classes of cattle have been selling well both on farm and through auction. Lifts in the bull schedule over the last two weeks has seen a renewed interest in manufacturing beef.



Since Christmas we are finally seeing increased enquiry and sales in the dairy market. Confidence is building with positive increases in the GDT and in some regions limited real estate activity.

In general herds are ranging in price from $1500 to $1900 with a handful of exceptional herds realising in excess of $2000. As normal there is a disconnect between listing price and sale price – this is expected to correct itself as the season progresses. Remember that traditionally the better herds sell first, so if you are in the market to purchase – act now.

Northern areas have commenced pregnancy testing with early results similar to previous seasons. It will be interesting to see what effect the decision by some farmers to use less or in some cases no tail up bulls has on empty rates.

Most areas are reporting better than average feed conditions, but the recent and forecast increase in temperatures may negatively impact this.



The end of 2018 saw the North Island team in the depths of ram selling season. The favourable season and a strong early lamb and mutton schedule reflected in confidence of ram buyers reinvesting in premium genetics for this year’s lamb drop and going forward. Maternal rams with a genetic tolerance to facial eczema demanded a premium in areas where commercial farmers are on board with recognising these sires as a tool to future proofing their breeding flocks. Further south the season continues, with record prices spread evenly throughout the breeds. With national ewe numbers down 12.45% since 2012, the positive ram sales demonstrate that our commercial farmers are now demanding more performance and production from their selections to make every mating count. Those stud breeders optimising their systems with the use of technology and tools previously unavailable, are being rewarded for their extra vigilance and long may this continue.

Before long we will be back to bull buying and all it entails, but until then, if you require any advice or assistance with your breeding operation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local PGG Wrightson Genetics Specialist.


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1 February 2019

February Rural Real Estate Report with Peter Newbold and Jamie Mackay

The Country's Jamie Mackay and our General Manager Peter Newbold talk through their monthly overview of the rural real estate market.

Read more about the report on The Country.

Rural Diary
1 February 2019 External Supplier

Creating a high-quality silage

Due to losses that occur during the fermentation process, silage as a rule does not maintain the same amount of dry matter and nutrients as fresh crops or pasture. However, using a quality silage inoculant can keep those losses to a minimum, helping make the most of the valuable feed source that is silage when livestock need it most.

Fermentation speed is the key factor in determining just how much dry matter, nutrients and feed energy is lost in the silage stack, and is influenced by the type and number of fermentation bacteria present.

When a silage stack is sealed, anaerobic bacteria multiply and convert sugars to acid, which preserves the silage. Although all crops have a range of bacteria present already, they differ in how efficiently they convert sugar to acid, which can slow down the fermentation process. The best silage is produced when high levels of lactic acid-producing bacteria are present.

Silage inoculants remove the ambiguity of what bacteria is present in the stack. They are applied to the crop at harvest time and provide optimal strains of lactic acid-producing bacteria in ideal numbers to efficiently ferment the pasture or crop.

A high-quality silage has greater dry matter recovery (less shrinkage, spoilage and run-off), palatability (higher feed energy levels) and increased animal performance (more milk or meat per tonne of silage fed).

Pioneer offers five tested and proven products to help improve the silage quality of a variety of crops, with three of these suitable for use on maize:

  • Pioneer brand 1174: An inoculant suitable for all types of silage including pasture, cereal and lucerne silage. Helps improve fermentation, retain nutrient content and enhance digestibility.
  • Pioneer brand 11C33: Helps keep maize silage cooler for longer, enabling it to be fed out up to a day in advance.
  • Pioneer brand 1132: Produces top quality maize silage for high-producing dairy cows and specialised beef production.

Pioneer’s Appli-Pro applicator technology means the inoculant is distributed evenly throughout the silage, so you don’t worry about too much or too little inoculant being applied, or what bacteria levels are truly present in the stack or bale.

For more information on inoculants, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Supplied by Pioneer Brand Products

External Supplier

Rural Diary
1 February 2019 Gary Bosley

Don't let caterpillars steal your summer feed

When growing forage crops, there are usually weeds, pests and disease competing, consuming or destroying valuable feed.

The natural ecosystem keeps pests in check and stops them becoming an economic issue. However, sometimes with favourable conditions, they increase in numbers and start having an economic impact on the crop so need to be managed.

The plantain moth is a member of the carpet moth family and is made up of two species (Scopula rubraria and Epyaxa rosearia). While very little is known about these two species, they are commonly found in New Zealand and Australia and are of the type called “loopers”. The adult moths are quite small with a wingspan of 20 mm, both species look very similar and are light brown in colour with darker brown spots and a dark brown band towards the end of the wings.

With the increase in plantain as a stock feed, either as a stand-alone crop with or without clover, or as a constituent of pasture of another crop, caterpillars are rarely an issue in the establishment year, but numbers can grow to epidemic proportions in the second and subsequent summers. If you experience large numbers of moths through the summer (starting in December), then you can expect a large number of eggs laid which hatch quite quickly into caterpillars with a voracious appetite for plantain leaves. The lifecycle of these caterpillars is short, pupating and emerging as adults to lay more eggs and therefore more caterpillars several times through the summer months. In winter, they largely disappear, probably overwintering in the soil as a pupae.

To monitor for these pests through the summer months, walk through your plantain paddocks in the evening. If there are large numbers of small brown moths flying up in front of you, then look closer in the leaf litter and see if you can find small curled up caterpillars and evidence of their feeding on the plantain leaf. In years where there have been large numbers of moths, some farmers have observed 90 percent leaf area of plantain plants consumed by these caterpillars.

If you have identified moths in your crop, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative for a control plan.

Gary Bosley

Rural Diary
1 February 2019 Jessica Dunbar

Foliar Nutrition Guide

Foliar fertiliser application is a technique of feeding plants by applying liquid fertiliser directly to their leaves. It can be an excellent supplement to soil-applied nutrients, increasing short-term nutrient
utilisation and quickly correcting nutrient deficiencies compared to soil application.

With foliar application, plants are able to absorb essential elements through their stomata (a pore on the leaf) and also through their epidermis (external layer of the leaf). Absorption is also affected by the form of nutrient and carriers/adjuvants in the product.

Nutrient levels in high value fruit/vegetable crops, fodder beet and lucerne forage crops are commonly monitored closely. If a deficiency is detected, foliar fertilisers are generally applied. However, the quantity of nutrients absorbed depends on factors relating to the specific nutrient, the crop, the current climate and the application technique.

To achieve full benefits from foliar feeding, proper nutrient application relative to the specific crop need or growth stage is essential. Foliar nutrients should be applied before the plant is showing a visual demand. Leaf cuticle thickness increases with plant age, so foliar nutrient application late in the growing season will also be less effective. Being aware of the climate condition at the time of application is essential since heat or moisture stress can reduce nutrient absorption rates. Early morning or late evening application, when leaves are wet, increases absorption and response.

Foliar applications are especially effective with micronutrients (nutrients that plants require in small quantities). For example, Boron (B) is rapidly absorbed and can rapidly correct B deficiencies in many crops. However, foliar applications do not replace soil applications of macronutrients (nutrients that plants require in large quantities). Correcting macronutrient deficiencies with foliar fertiliser can be difficult because of the relatively high nutrient requirement relative to nutrient absorption rates through leaves. This is why the bulk of the plants’ requirement for specific macronutrients should be soil applied before planting, as excessive foliar nutrient application can cause leaf ‘burning’, so always take care.

A convenient benefit of foliar fertilisers is that they can be combined with foliar pesticide applications. However, always read the label and check product compatibilities. Your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative can also offer advice.

Jessica Dunbar

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