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The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Feed in the north drives store lamb values, and beef farmers enjoy big price lifts

Rural News
The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Feed in the north drives store lamb values, and beef farmers enjoy big price lifts


Some ups, some downs for lamb schedules this week, as international markets remain soft and the weakness of the euro eats away at farm gate returns, which are $7 to $9 per head behind last year.

Exporters are trying to send more product away from Europe, but are finding the increased supply into other countries is putting these returns under pressure as well.

Processing numbers are now similar to last year, but with predicted lower numbers from this year’s crop, some supply pressure may soon influence prices as the season winds down.

In the saleyards prime lamb values have remained steady with variations on price determined by the quality of stock offered.

The store lamb market however has seen a significant differential between islands, with  northern animals selling for a $15-$20 premium over the south, with surplus feed and high cattle prices making the difference.

Mutton markets have remained steady with opportunities outside China, and weak lamb and skin markets have been compensated somewhat by the present strong wool prices.


The South Island sale this week saw stronger wool pricing and good clearances, as shipment pressure and a wider range of wool types, stimulated the market tone.

Export statistics show China is our major destination for NZ wools, with that country buying 52% of our product last year to dominate the purchasers market.

ASB analysts say they believe the present satisfactory prices for wool should be maintained into the coming season, with low global supply sustaining demand.


More weekly beef schedule lifts, inspite of some weakness in the US market, as record volumes are being harvested in Australia, and the NZ kill is 15% ahead of last year.

Beef schedules are much stronger than at the same stage last year, with steers returning $256/hd more on a 295cwt animal, while 320cwt bulls have earned $275 more into farmers pockets.

NZ beef export monthly returns climbed ahead of lamb for the first time, illustrating this sectors success in the market and driving calf sales to record levels with top animals breaking $1000 per head.

Boner cows are flooding the saleyards in areas where dairy farms are drying off, and meeting a strong market driven by the US demand for manufacturing beef.


Venison returns remain flat as the frozen season comes to an end, and while achieving higher prices, farm gate returns were decimated by the weak euro currency.

Soft weaner sale prices reflect cautiousness from finishers for the up coming chilled game season, as this sector struggles to regain growth levels important for industry sustainability.

Saleyard Store lamb

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