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The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Dry, dry, dry in many eastern areas as some SFF shareholders refuse to accept the Chinese deal

The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Dry, dry, dry in many eastern areas as some SFF shareholders refuse to accept the Chinese deal


While processors are hailing a significant recovery in the lamb market, no such signs have been seen in the weekly schedules and winter finishers will be looking for increased chilled prices to return their operations to profits.

Cautious optimism has replaced last week’s Chinese chilled market break through announcement, with reports that it will take some time to develop China’s chilled supply chain.

Weather at mating has been dry but NIWA is predicting increased temperatures, normal winter rain, and a return to near normal soil moisture levels over NZ in the next 3 months, and it can't come fast enough for those in the dry areas.

A plan for the rejuvination of the hill country could be based around the ideas of a few inovative farmers using plantain and different oversowing techniques to improve the quality of forages in the sward, to ensure they aren't  forced to sell store lambs in the summer lows of the market.

Silver Fern Farms have been challenged by a small minority of farmers who want to stop the Shanghai Mayling partnership deal, by questioning the validity of the number of shareholder votes needed for the agreement.

Governance rules enforces them to have a meeting, but directors say it will not change anything, and are confident they followed all the democratic channels in achieving the deals acceptance.


The single North Island wool auction last week saw prices ease again, as buyers only targeted specific lines and demand eased.

Indicator values for fine crossbred (559) and lambs wools (611)  have fallen to yearly lows although  coarser offerings (551) are still slightly ahead of last years sale.

The settled dry weather over most of the country has ensured the shearing flow has been uninterupted and lack of rain has helped improve yields.

A survey on farm worker salaries revealed good wage growth as farm businesses understand the need for quality employees if profits are to be achieved.


Supply shortages are starting to drive demand and one company lifted prime beef schedules this week to try and entice more animals into the market.

Shortages out of Australia are keeping the US beef market honest as kill volumes of NZ dairy cows starts to peak.

South Island calf sales last week sold strongly with values above vendors expectations, and going some way to compensate for the poor sheep returns many of the vendors recieved.

The boisecurity breach that allowed velvet leaf weed to contaminate fodder beet crops got worse this week as officials admitted they cannot contain the spread in one season, and with some plants now found in a maize crop chemicals will now be needed for future control.

This is very disapointing as this just increases the costs to grow this feed now being used to improve growth rates in cattle and lamb finishing.

Farmers have backed the Ruataniwha Dam proposal with capital commitments to allow it to progress, but all irrigation proposals face heavy environmental scrutiny as seen with the Greenpeace challenge for stage two of the Central Canterbury Plains water development.


Lower production of venison is creating problems for NZ exporters as the strive to fullfil orders for reliable customers, as less hinds are now being killed as farmers invest in growth once again.

Industry planners are hopeful the gap can be filled with improved per head production as a result of their investment in the Advanced parties and Passion2 Profit schemes.

Next weeks Deer Farmers Conference in Dunedin should be a positive affair as both of the sectors products are in a sweet spot in the market, and the industry has a well thought out plan for future managed growth.

The velvet season has wound up with another year of stable prices and most stock sold and moving in the market.

Future challenges, will be managing the increase in production by growing consumption, especially using velvet as a key ingredient in the healthy food market.

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I am as dry as I have ever been, creeks are dyer now than a month ago, facial eczema is starting to show up.
Beef on feed in the States is up, prices are responding…


We're bloody dry too. 24C here today crazy weather.


Have had a bit more rain here recently, grass is starting to pick up.
I have some paddocks near morrinsville that I planted grass in that I need to go and roll when we get some rain, it is still far too dry over that way.


It's the whole East cost except Gisborne, it's OK except for the eczema. Friends down south tell me it's ugly.…


The big dry is bloody brutal in northern North Canterbury again. 1 ml of rain since 24 March when we had 12 mls. Just 50 mls in last three months.Have a 500ha farm normally wintering 4000 Su (avg). Down to 2100 su, farm now all but barren, have just found grazing for 1000 ewes, looking for more.Will try and winter 300 ewes and 28 cows. I know of a few similar sized farms now have 2 bulls and 25 rams left.
Fortunately grazing on fodder beet is $2 per week per ewe, transport $3-4 both ways, and then we hope that something has grown over winter so ewes can be lambed down. This is twice in a row for farmers here, I don't know how many will survive.
Rainfall stats are amazing 14 out of last 22 months have yielded less than 25mls, many below 12 mls, frequent nor west winds with more summer days over 30 degrees than not. It's now four growing seasons in a row without significant rain.


Yes you North Canty farmers are who I really feel for at the moment.
It just doesn't seem fair to have such a dire shortage of feed as well as quite low lamb prices.
Not self inflicted like the dairy farmers problems are either.


Funnily enough, the state of the lamb side of the meat industry pales into significance compared the the losses that keep mounting up around here. Any gains from the ideal industry model would take a decade to get back the financial losses we have.
You don't hear any farmers grizzly about the SM deal with SFF, or talk of the missed chance of consolidation with Alliance, all focus is on survival from the dry.


I am in the same boat, in the last two weeks all my streams have stopped flowing, young grass has died and locals have been feeding out for 6 weeks. I have almost no stock on as I was worried about the beef price and it's been a lucky break for me, in a few weeks I will need to feed out anyway.
Mate told me today he has %25 eczema in his sheep and not looking good for the next few months.
Dry from HB south.