More small signs that the lamb schedule is moving off the bottom with price lifts, and news that winter lamb contracts have been set.
Processors report lower domestic production is expected out of China, and prices and volumes traded are at last starting to improve.
Demand out of the EU is steady, and with chilled lamb prices well ahead of frozen and NZ stocks low, it is expected increases in value will soon be seen.
Kill volumes are running well ahead of last year and with prices lifting for stores finished in the winter and spring, the market indicates shortages could be looming.
The ANZCO chairman however is pessimistic about future lamb prospects and indicated China will be the key to further prosperity, and is part of the PM’s team visiting that country at present.
Reports suggest facial eczema outbreaks in the North Island were worse than normal this year, with rain and warm temperatures ideal for the growth and spread of spores.
With the recent lift in store lamb values, numbers offered have increased, but prices have held steady with some buyers chosing lambs over very expensive calves as their winter trading option.
The single North Island wool auction last week saw prices ease especially for the coarser end of the offering and lambs wool, and 15% of the sale was passed.
Coloured wools with higher levels of vegetable matter as a result of good feed conditions up north dominated the sale and buyers discounted these wools in both ewe fleece and lambs wools accordingly.
Disappointedly, fine crossbred and lambs wool are near or below where they were last year, and with the currency still stubbornly high, the fibres recent lift maybe short lived.
Expectations that early winter coarse wools may reach $6/kg have been dented by the last two NI sales but exporters still feel this is a realistic target for clean unstained offerings.
Prime beef schedules were steady this week but one company did lift bull values, as US imported beef prices rose again as they head into the peak grilling season.
SI meat plants are running at capacity and the beef plants are booked into May when more dairy cows could come forward at dry off.
Sir Graeme Harrison from ANZCO is bullish about beef prospects, reporting good demand should result from shortages out of the Australian herd.
South America is selling increasing volumes into the Chinese market as their consumers demand bigger volumes, and Alliance have employed beef boners from that country to fill a skills gap at Mataura.
Calf prices continued their strong run both in the north and south, as managers decided beef was the sector to invest in and female prices also showed some were expanding their breeding operations with well bred heifers.
Prime steers sold via the saleyards have lifted in price as last months easing has been halted due to shortages of quality animals pressurizing supply.
Another week of stable schedules, as the industry announces a lift on levy on venison to pay for the new P2P initiative that aims to extend the chilled venison season.
Another weaner deer auction down south showed increasing demand for these young animals, as this sector turns the corner to a period of growth to meet the global demand for this lean meat.
The delicate balance between servicing loyal customers with normal volumes and growing livestock numbers is a challenge for the sector, but improving the performance and per head production of the existing animals is a goal of the industry lead programme.