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The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Weaning drafts disappoint as managers try to recoup prices with heavier weights

The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Weaning drafts disappoint as managers try to recoup prices with heavier weights


Weaning is now well underway and returns off the early drafts continue to disappoint even for heavy lambs, as farm confidence has dropped sharply for sheep and beef farmers in the latest survey.

Schedules are falling slowly but still include a procurement premium as exporters strive to fulfill export comitments and price carefully for the stocks of frozen product.

The plentiful feed has kept processing volumes low and kept schedules from adjusting down as fast as early market indications suggested they would.

There is however just some small signs of recovery, lead by lifting demand in most markets except the UK, and slow production out of Australia.

Small volumes of store lambs are being traded out of North Canterbury in the 270c-300c/kg range, but $80 per head seems to be the maximum, and margins appear trimmed at these rates.

In the North Island strong winds have dried up the east coast and farmers are quitting stores and prices are easing back as a result, with smalls selling in the mid $30's and large animals barely making $70. Prices were firmer out of the Manawatu saleyards where more feed and some demand from the South Island saw prices about $10/head stronger.

Demand is strong for cull ewes for toppers and some sales have seen store ewes exceed returns for prime lambs.

Scientists report greenhouse gas emissions on hill country are less than previously thought, as farmers demand strong science before being forced to change management systems to solve issues in this area.

Beef and Lamb NZ report the lamb crop is down 1.3% on last year, but an increased lambing percentage off fewer ewes, has limited the drop in numbers.


The South Island auction again failed to inspire and only 80% of the offering sold and at prices behind the last Christchurch sale.

The absence of Chinese buyers in the crossbred wool market who often buy nearly 50% of the offerring, has driven the market lower 

The wool price indicators did lift however on last weeks NI sale, and Merino wools continue to shine, with a high of 1648c/kg not exceeded since 2012, on the back of a very strong Melbourne sale.

Another mainly stable week for beef schedules as chilled markets are all short of product, and Asian demand remains strong.

For all cattle classes except heifer, processing volumes at 5 November were well behind last year, as farmers look to put extra weight onto animals to utilise all the feed the spring has brought.
Beef farmers are still struggling in the US, with very cheaply priced poultry and pork and high domestic cattle kills ruling the market, but low processing numbers in NZ have minimized the effect here.
Weaner dairy bulls are selling for $4/kg/lwt plus in the Canterbury province well below NI returns, but saleyard prime steers are trading  about 20c/kg lwt stronger in the South.

Store cattle continue to trade well above schedule levels, driven by the surplus feed and few other profitable grazing alternatives.

The summer venison schedule fall seems to be stalling as the frozen negotiations close, and with good demand keeping prices strong, and reports of successful sales of chilled product, off season lows  should stay ahead of last year.

The velvet market has reached an impasse with buyers wanting a 20% reduction, while sellers are prepared to ease about 10%, to reflect the negative currency movements.

Road buyers have taken advantage of this, and are offering $100-$105/kg to those who need a quick sale.

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anyone know why the Chinese aren't buying wool?

With us able to recycle plastic bags now, I expect they have enough raw material for all the carpet, all the polar fleece jackets you could wish for

Still getting quite good rain in the Waikato, the meat companies are really having to chase the product.
Store market is still $2.7-$2.80 for Friesian bulls which seems quite high.

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