Some areas have responded well to recent rains but others need a period of significant backup moisture if covers are to be lifted into the autumn period.
Cull cow sale numbers have been boosted at saleyards as farmers sell late and dry cows after early pregnancy tests as a first step to destocking.
Dairy advisers remind farmers not to overgraze pastures and to price supplements carefully based on profit, and consider once a day or 16 hour milkings to prevent body condition scores eroding if feed gets short.
Other techniques suggested are feeding out in the early morning or evenings when there is less chance of suppression of appetite, supplying shade on very hot days and urging farmers not to forget about the young stock.
In the first auction since the DCD scare, prices held up well with analysts suggesting perceived future supply issues and strong Chinese demand are driving prices at present. And another sign that NZ’s product is viewed by buyers as gold standard was seen when Fonterra’s skim milk powder sold at a premium over other competitors product at the dairy platform auction.
Oceania pricing continues to creep up but so does the currency, although Fonterra reports they have good cover for the rest of the season.
Maraki Dairy reports an excellent first year profit by the Iwi controlled company as they strive to create better value from Maori owned farmland.
Some comments are filtering through that new conversions are avoiding joining Fonterra due to the heavy cost of Fonterra shares which appear to be over priced at $7 + a share for new entrants.
More big falls in schedule pricing reinforces the problems lamb meat is having in the market place, and reflects the pressure processors are under to produce a profit after last years debacle.
Prices have now fallen to near 2008 levels and with farm costs rising significantly over the last 5 years only the big gains in productivity have kept sheep farmers from falling deeper in the mire.
The Easter deadlines have now passed with chilled product and frozen lines of lamb now dominate the offering and these volumes will test the market further especially as the dry has moved stocks ahead of the norm. High value middle cuts remain the challenge although marketers report an increased supply of lighter legs are receiving premium prices.
In a growth area for dairying South Canterbury witnessed saleyard sheep flight with 14 vendors disposing of their flocks in an unprecedented capital stock sale at Temuka with main purchasers coming from Southland.
And it's no wonder as 2th sales in the south lead the nations values with prices averaging $171 per head for young sheep sold at Lorneville.
PGGWrightson report "jitters" at falling sheep values as they prepare their 6 month profit report but are hoping for strong seed sales in Australia to compensate.
Auction prices stabilized and passings fell on the back of lower than expected wool flows and an unchanged currency.
Wools of NZ continue to be positive in their capital raising efforts and believe if Christchurch customers use wool to recarpet in the rebuild that would give the industry a huge boost.
Ram breeders report that farmer clients are prioritizing meat yield ahead of wool genes in their annual sire picks, although some are looking for animals of finer microns to diversify end use away from the dominant coarse crossbred wools carpet market.
More easing in schedules so that now prime NI steer and bull schedules are at yearly lows, which will disappoint many with little feed to be able to wait on the promised early winter price turnaround.
Saleyard prime steers have followed this trend as a bigger supply at this difficult time of year has given buyers an opportunity to push down prices.
Very cold conditions in the US and an Asian close down for Chinese New Year celebrations, dampened sales even further.
Weaner calf sellers will be getting nervous as tight feed conditions, an uncertain market and probably lighter weights, could dampen optimism of buyers.
More schedule falls this week as a traditionally quiet time of year and plentiful supply of other game meats has subdued demand.
Unfortunately velvet has been caught up in the hype of supplement abuse by sports people which will disappoint the industry and farmers who invested heavily in research to prove its safety for use. While this may have a negative affect for Western customers, strong traditional values with this product should have little affect in the predominant Asian market.