Rural Supplies
Livestock Market Update April 2019
14 June 2019

Livestock Market Update June 2019

South Island sheep and beef update

South Island livestock focus is the annual bull sales, which are in full swing.
Bulls on average are up on last year’s sale price, as farmers invest in their genetics, for on farm gain.
The last of the store lambs are being sold before winter sets in. Lamb finishers have been keenly snapping up the lambs as confidence builds for the outlook for winter/spring lamb schedules.
Store cattle pricing is subdued due to some areas not having a lot of winter feed and farmers waiting on cattle space. Once the backlog is cleared, there will be an increase in schedule pricing going into the winter for finished cattle, therefore lifting the pricing for store cattle.


Our sector has got some interesting challenges ahead of itself at present and the key focus needs to be the long-term sustainability of our Dairy industry so we can continue to contribute our vital part of the country’s export income.
Dairy livestock markets reflect the generally low morale and uncertainty in the sector. Through April and May stock prices dropped by 20 to 25 per cent, reflecting the lower volumes and inconsistent availability of feed conditions. Now dairy herds have settled and as winter progresses, those who have decided to leave the sector will already have done so, and anyone who has quality stock to sell through that period should be met with a positive reception in the market.
It’s the time of the year now for all parties to take a well deserved break and get ready for the season ahead. Who knows what the 2019/20 dairy season will send our way, but our sector is full of hard working, resilient and innovative people that as always will find the upside in any situation.
Enjoy the winter break and good luck for 2019/20 Dairy Season.


The bull sale season kicked off with the National Angus and Hereford sales held at Orlando Country and on farm in Kiwitea. It was a disappointing start to the season, because the success of on-farm sales has come at the cost of the Nationals with waning support and quality of bulls from breeders.
Although we had a slow start we have seen an upswing in the on farm sales, with most averages and clearances being on par or better than the good performances of previous years. Merchiston Angus saw a full clearance 43/43 sold at an average of $9,506, with the top price bull going to Shian Angus in Taumarunui for $31,000. This like many other sales was underpinned by strong demand from commercial farmers happy to spend upwards of $10,000 for top Genetics.
13 June 2019 External Supplier

Win the lice challenge

Lice can be a frustrating challenge for sheep farmer as they reduce fleece weights and severely damage the quality of the fleece, reducing the value of the wool clip¹. Off-shear treatment is the best time to manage lice burden. 

The signs of a lice infestation include: rubbing against fences and  other objects in the paddock, wool left on fences, matted fleece,  organic matter in the fleece or discolouration of the fleece.


Lice can be identified by taking a series of wool partings down to skin level in ten sheep from the flock. It is important that these are carried out right across the body as lice can be found in high concentrations in localised areas on the fleece, so can be easy to miss. 

Lice control relies on a whole farm solution and plan, not just concentrating on the specific mob affected. For maximal control, sheep should be treated off shears. Use the correct dose rate and T-Bar applicator with application being in straight lines from the poll to the tail of the sheep. This insures that the highest effective concentration of active ingredient spreads right across the sheep. Other classes of sheep on the farm should be treated at the same time as they can act as reservoirs for re-infestation. If this cannot be done immediately, untreated stock must be kept separate from treated sheep.

Breeding ewes should not be treated within three weeks of lambing so that young lambs do not act as this reservoir for re-infestation. New Zealand farmers have used Magnum® for lice control in sheep for nearly 20 years. Magnum continues to deliver consistent results with all classes of sheep. It gives lice control off-shears for up to three months in strong wool sheep, and has a rain fast claim to give farmers greater confidence when using it. Magnum contains Diflubenzuron, an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) in a water base. IGRs prevent lice from completing their life cycle rather than killing the adult lice. Over 14 weeks the adult lice die of “old age”, and female lice are not able to produce viable offspring so the population dies away. 

If sheep with long wool have to be treated and can’t be shorn, Vanquish® is an ideal emergency lice outbreak treatment. Vanquish contains alpha-cypermethrin and can be used in sheep with up to ten months wool growth. These treated sheep should be treated again once shorn with a knock-down product. The same rules for application apply to Vanquish, but lice control treatment of sheep with long wool should not be relied upon year on year. Talk to your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative about the Coopers 10 Point Lice Management Plan. It is a good place to start when planning for lice control on your farm. 

¹ Wilkinson et. al. Growth of populations of lice, Damalinia ovis on sheep and their effects on production and processing performance of wool. Veterinary Parasitology, 9 (1982) 243-252.

External Supplier

12 June 2019

PGG Wrightson Livestock Roundup - June 7

Mark Leishman talks to Bidr General Manager, Tania Smith this week. This interview focuses on what Bidr is and how it works and the official launch of the platform at Fieldays.

What is Bidr and how does it work?
Bidr is an innovative rural trading platform, different to the likes of TradeMe in that Bidr has a partnership with Agents and Agencies. Agents will be trained to become accredited assessors, adhering to the strict listing policies Bidr has.

Bidr is an alternative sale option to saleyards.

Anyone can sign up for a Bidr account, view current and upcoming sales and register for auctions. All stock will be listed 48 hours prior to the auction starting.

Currently there are 3 weekly sales happening on Bidr. Upper North Island will run on Tuesday night, Lower North Island will run on Wednesday night and South Island will run on Thursday night.

Bidr also has the option to run feature sales for big OnFarm Sales or Stud Stock Sales.

Official Launch at Fieldays
A couple of pilot runs took place prior to Christmas with the soft launch taking place in March. This gave Bidr the chance to sort any technical issues.

Since the soft launch, Bidr has had 11 successful sales with a clearance rate of 72%. 

Bidr will have their official launch at Fieldays, the team will be set up in the Innovation Centre as well as in the PGG Wrightson tent.

Demonstration auctions will run every hour and people are encouraged to stick around to see the platform in action.

There will also be the opportunity to sign up on the day.

6 June 2019 External Supplier

Energizer battery maintenance

To maximise the life of your energizer battery, there are a few things to consider:

  • Choose the correct size battery for your system.
  • House the battery in a suitable battery box if the battery is likely to be exposed to the weather.
  • Inspect the battery regularly to ensure that the battery electrolyte level does not fall below 12 mm (½”) above the surface of the battery plates.
  • The use of de-ionised, distilled or rain water is recommended to top up the battery electrolyte level.
  • Recharge a discharged battery as soon as possible.
  • Store spare batteries completely charged and recharge at regular intervals (every 8 weeks).
  • Avoid subjecting batteries to temperature extremes < -10° C (14° F) or >50° C (120° F).

External Supplier

5 June 2019 External Supplier

Pre-lamb vaccination matters

Clostridial bacteria are everywhere, including on your farm and in your animals.

Lambs are born with a low number of antibodies and rely on  antibodies in the ewe’s colostrum for protection against clostridial diseases including pulpy kidney and tetanus. In most cases, it is difficult to ensure that every newborn lamb gets sufficient amounts of fresh colostrum within the first few hours of life. So, your goal becomes maximising the concentration of antibodies in this colostrum, something you can control with a good pre-lamb vaccination programme.

The gut of the newborn lamb is best at absorbing these antibodies within the first 6 to 12 hours of life. Ideally lambs should get 50 mls per kilogram of liveweight of colostrum within the first two hours of birth, and another 200 mls per kilogram of liveweight in the next 12 to 18 hours¹. For an average four kilogram lamb, this equates to 1 L of colostrum within the first day of life and as early as possible after birth.

There are three aspects to getting your pre-lamb programme right:

  1. Timing: It is about stimulating the ewe at the right time so her antibody levels peak when she is forming her colostrum. Ideally this is about two weeks ahead of lambing, but different farms have  different management systems and lambing spread varies, so the flexibility to vaccinate earlier can be important.  Remember, not every ewe lambs on the first day of lambing. 
  2. Vaccine: The choice of vaccine used can influence how many antibodies are available to go into the ewe’s colostrum. How much is sufficient can vary depending on whether the ewe has one, two or three lambs suckling, and how much disease challenge a lamb may face. Immediately after birth, the udder only contains 1 to 1.5 L of colostrum, so if this is shared by twins or triplets the volume is divided and there are fewer antibodies(and a lower volume) present for each lamb to drink. 
  3. General wellbeing: Ewes that are in poor condition, parasitised or under severe feed stress at the time of vaccinationdo not have the energy to form many antibodies or enough quality colostrum. Making sure ewes are in good condition over the late pregnancy period is  directly linked to the success of your pre-lamb programme. 

If your flock has a higher number of multiple bearing ewes, or you vaccinate earlier (for example, to reduce the likelihood of sleepy sickness), or you want longer protection of lambs (up to fourmonths) to reduce losses through until weaning, then NILVAX® would be a preferable choice for your farm. NILVAX is the specialist pre-lamb vaccine, formulated with a powerful 5-in-1 plus an immune booster. 

If it is convenient to vaccinate the flock two weeks ahead of lambing, and you have a large number of single bearing ewes, then a pre-lamb 5-in-1 vaccine like MULTINE® or MULTINE B12® is suitable. It gives a good antibody response, and when used closerto lambing (two to four weeks), provides protection for the lambsfor up to three months. For advice planning your pre-lamb programme, contact  yourlocal PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative. 


¹S.Peterson et al. Grazing behaviour and milk available for twins and triplets, NZ Society of Animal Production, 2006

External Supplier

Rural Diary June
1 June 2019 Gary Bosley

Growing a long-lasting lucerne crop

The key to growing a high yielding, long-lasting lucerne crop that provides high quality feed is dependent on good weed control and plant nutrition.

A successful crop of lucerne can last many years as long as it is well managed and good weed control is achieved. This can be done with a combination of spraying, mowing and grazing.

In mature crops of lucerne, weed control should be done during winter when the crop is dormant to reduce damage. Walk the paddocks during late autumn and identify weeds and their numbers. During mid-winter, use a mixture of a contact burn-down spray (containing paraquat) and another residual herbicide (usually containing atrazine) to brown-down the weeds and leave a residual herbicide layer on the soil surface to kill any newly emerging weeds. Remember, this can only be done on established crops that are over 12 months old as the spray can damage younger plants with smaller root systems.

Monitoring the crop for weeds during the spring and autumn is also important on established crops as other more selective herbicides can be used on specific weeds throughout the year. Don’t forget the use of the mower. Removing annual weeds before they set seed is a good form of weed control during the season.

Keeping your lucerne crop healthy and productive helps it compete with weeds as well. Over time paddock fertility drops and pH levels decrease. It is important that nutrients, especially potassium (K), are replaced if you are grazing or cutting and removing the crop. Ensure regular liming to keep pH levels above 6.0. 

In most situations, the end of a lucerne crop’s life is when the battle is lost against weeds that limit production and palatability. It is then time to spray out and put in a new crop.

For more information on weed control in lucerne, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative. 

Gary Bosley

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