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The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Dry conditions in the east have some farmers nervous whether there will be enough feed in the spring

The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Dry conditions in the east have some farmers nervous whether there will be enough feed in the spring


Another small drop in this week’s schedules as export prices fall $6/head behind the similar stage last year.

This year’s lamb crop is predicted to be at an all time low, with drought, facial eczema and disappointing returns decimating the nations flock numbers.

The east coast of both islands are still very dry and concern is building whether future winter rains will create enough feed for early lambing mobs.

This week’s Brexit vote will be watched by all lamb producers as analysts suggest negative trade outcomes for NZ, if Britain leaves Europe.

Silver Fern Farms announced plans to upgrade their cool store facilities at Pareora after closing it’s leasing arrangements in Christchurch.

Scanned in lamb breeding ewes have been making $100-$130/head at the saleyards up north, while store lambs in Canterbury lifted into the $80’s last week.


The South Island wool auction saw only 62% sell even with a limited offering, as poor demand and a strong currency saw market run out of puff at the end of the season.

Mid micron, coarse crossbred, and lambs wools, are all at yearly lows and well behind values at a similar stage last year.

Good news however, with the announcement of a $21 million 7 year project to develop further uses for crossbred wool, starting with using the product as a source of keratin, and developing new technical textiles.



Stable beef schedules again this week, as Oceania kills have declined and reducing volumes into the US has enabled demand to be maintained.

Some warning signs in overseas markets for beef producers, as in the US good grass growth and the fastest herd expansion since the 70’s has analysts predicting beef production to be up 4% this year, and in Ireland beef prices are predicted to crash in their autumn.

Saleyard store prices have remained firm with late calves and forward stores still attracting plenty of interest and prime steers and heifer pricing benefiting from the lack of supply.

Fielday attendance and sales was stronger than most had anticipated, with dairys financial plight filled with optimism and investment from other sectors.

Sire bull sales report above average prices and nearly 100% clearances as many are lifting their cattle to sheep ratios in response to below average sheep returns.

MPI targets to double our primary sector export reciepts by 2025 look too ambitious after only a small rise from meat and wool and a 6% drop from dairy this year.



Venison schedules were stable this week on low volumes, and deer skins which are at historically low prices, are at last starting to move again.

Fertiliser prices are still falling, with Super down $18/tonne and Urea $20, as the Co-Ops have promised to release the rebate earlier to help cashflow, and encourage reinvestment into the soils for the coming season.

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Live cattle prices are hitting the summer wall and hitting it hard. Cattle feeders continue to pull cattle forward due to the deep discounts represented on the futures market which provides little incentive to continue growing animals to heavier weights. This corresponds to a time when live cattle prices seasonally struggle as calf fed animals are coming off feed in large numbers.

Packers have fear of the beef cutout price collapsing during the summer heat which is a valid concern while cattle feeders continue to take punches to the gut as margins get cut to barely above breakeven. Live cattle prices will likely struggle the next couple of months as hot temperatures set in and cattle are pulled forward. Replacement cattle may be fairly inexpensive though.

Looks like Chinese import laws created a big beef shortage in China and higher prices, that effect looks to have worked it's way through the system


In 2014, Chinese authorities stopped imports of large quantities of Australian beef due to a high presence of hormone growth promotants (HGPs).

Yang Miao, vice-president of Meat International Group, a Chinese export consultancy firm that specialises in beef, told chinadialogue's sister site Diálogo Chino that the furore caused a sudden shortage in supply as it was later discovered that 70% of Australian beef imports failed to meet new Chinese standards.
For many, the idea of Argentine beef conjures up bucolic scenes of plump cattle grazing insouciantly in the open Pampas. But the reality of the industry is very different.

Over 70% of the country’s cattle are reared in feedlots - enclosed plots use for intensive animal farming - according to the Argentine Feedlot Chamber, a number that is only likely to rise.

A growing demand for beef from countries like China has more Argentine farmers switching to intensive production in tiny lots in order to maximise profits, a process known as “precision cattle raising”.
In 2015, China imported over forty thousand tonnes of Argentine beef, accounting for 36% of Argentina’s total exports. The figure represents a 110% increase on the previous year. But despite SENASA’s best efforts, some analysts fear that the detection of a banned substance could negatively impact meat exports to a country increasingly concerned about food safety.
Yet Argentine beef exports to China came under scrutiny recently after a shipment was found by China’s inspection and quarantine services (CIQ) to contain the banned antibiotic chloramphenicol. Chinese authorities immediately stopped unloading the 11,000 tonne shipment, which will have most likely been destroyed.