Sheep and beef farmers are poised to capitalise on excellent pasture production after the moist end to the spring.
PGG Wrightson South Island Livestock Manager Shane Gerken says most districts experienced good spring growing conditions, with an extra boost over the past few weeks.
“Although NIWA was predicting a dry summer, after the recent prolonged wet spell through much of the country, that looks unlikely to commence any time soon. Farmers are looking to capitalise on some exceptional pasture production.
“For sheep and beef farmers, the main spring focus was lamb finishing and cattle sales. As the lamb schedule is holding up at record highs, most sheep farmers remain positive, and store lambs will be highly sought after.
“Lambing percentages are also at record levels, with plenty of sets of twins surviving. For that reason, lambs may be slightly slower to reach required weights this season, despite the quantity of feed available. Demand for store lambs reflects the ongoing confidence in the lamb schedule, as well as the positive feed situation,” he says.
Meanwhile, in the cattle market, farmers are showing a preference for traditional well-bred beef breeds.
“These are achieving a premium over dairy beef. Rain has also strengthened that market, with an abundance of cattle offered for spring sale. Compared to last year, cattle prices have therefore eased slightly, reflecting where the schedule has gone. Tight killing space at the works has also negatively impacted pricing.
“Hundred kilogram bull calves started to sell in late spring. In an ongoing trend, buyers showed a marked preference for single origin animals. This is a response to the risk of mycoplasma bovis. Traceability has become a more highly favoured attribute this season.
“Although prices for prime beef are down on where they were last season, cattle are still likely to sell well through the summer, albeit at slightly lower prices than last season,” says Shane.