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14 May 2024
Over the Farm Gate
Market Commentary

Autumn dairy sales positive

Turning around a slow start, the pick up in dairy livestock transactions through late summer and autumn shows sector confidence is returning.

After a late start the dairy livestock sale season indicates the sector is rebounding.

PGG Wrightson Livestock National Dairy Specialist Jamie Cunninghame says early buyer sentiment left many sitting on the fence.

“Market signals at the start of the summer were not encouraging, with low prices and farmers readjusting budgets around challenging cost structures. Sales usually start in December, though many decided to hold off on livestock decisions and we didn’t see many active buyers until February. As Global Dairy Trade auction prices have improved, confidence has grown, and more recently we have seen some excellent sales.

“Farms selling or sharemilkers moving will stimulate demand, leading to herd sales, which we have also seen latterly.

“Demand for top quality dairy genetics has not been impacted by uncertain payout forecasts, as we saw when the recent Busybrook, North Otago dairy cow sale turned over $1.266 million from an offering of 136 cows. Commercial cows are also well sought after, and with the GDT indicators moving in a positive direction, confidence in dairy is evidently returning,” he says. 

Ferdon Genetics, Otorohanga, had one of the season’s more notable sales, offering Jersey, Holstein, and Ayrshire, which were each represented in the top three prices, ranging from $20,000 to $24,000. Marking 75 years of the stud,Ferdon’s offering averaged $7305 overall, with the cows averaging $9550, the in-calf heifers $7133, and the yearlings and younger calves $5500. Buyers were from throughout the country, as well overseas.

Grant and Karen Brierley of Otorohanga also achieved good results from their well supported late April on-farm dispersal sale, with cows selling for an average price of $2506, in-calf heifers for $1770, and rising one-year-olds for $970.

Due to tight feed conditions, some dairy farmers are drying off and wrapping up the dairy season a little early, though looking forward to the start of calving, which for some is only a few weeks away.

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