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4 May 2022
Over the Farm Gate
Market Commentary

Over The Farm Gate: Prices lift in successful South Island calf sale season

Demand strong throughout the island, though Southland dry mutes enthusiasm

Through April calf sales took place somewhere in the South Island approximately every second day. While the region’s drought hampered enthusiasm in the Southland market, elsewhere plenty of feed provided strong motivation for buyers, which pushed prices up between $60 and $100 per head compared to last year.

All stock found willing buyers.

Southland liveweight prices sat between 40 and 50 cents per kilogram below what a similar animal would trade for in Canterbury. Some Southland calves sold to buyers taking them out of the region, opposite to the usual direction of flow.

Due to the top half of the South Island’s abundant feed, fewer calves than normal were purchased by North Island farmers, while the challenges of freighting across Cook Strait in Covid times underlined this trend.

Processing space for prime cattle is tighter than normal, once again due to Covid. Meanwhile, store and prime lambs are selling well for this time of year, above previous recent year averages.

In May similar demand is likely for in-calf cow and heifer sales, while later in the month the annual run of South Island bull sales commences.

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