A strong upswing in the number of farms being offered for sale in Otago and Southland this spring has not been matched by buying interest to date, real estate agents report.

An update on the region in Beef + Lamb New Zealand's economic service lamb crop report said the increase was for both sheep and beef, and dairy properties.

It might indicate some caution by buyers waiting to see the implications of policy changes by the new government, as well as the potential impact of Environment Southland's water and land plan which has progressed past the submissions and hearing stages.

Farmers in the two regions were generally optimistic about prospects for good financial returns this season despite low prices for strong wool.

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Favourable climatic conditions through spring had meant farming operations for this time of year were all on target.

It was likely that numbers in early lamb drafts would be higher than last season due to good lamb growth rates and good schedule prices.

If weather conditions remained dry, that would be an added incentive to get lambs away earlier.

Schedules were strong this spring and reached $7kg CW or more in the South with processors competing for supply amid strong offshore demand.

Major companies had signalled schedules would ease before Christmas, but farmers were hopeful prices would continue to exceed those received last season.

Schedule prices for mutton had been very strong and there had been a few comments that some mobs of old ewes could be weaned early to take advantage of those strong prices.