After such a punishing last week, lamb entries were well over 10,000 head fewer than last week at under 7000 on Friday. That in itself would always help the market but, coupled with the fact that somebody told the South Island that lambs were cheap last week, lamb sale prices lifted overall by around $10-15/head and, in some cases, by up to $20/head.
A small pen of 28 freshly weaned, whiteface lambs from C Robbie, Palmerston North, sold for $119 but these were works quality with 90 top mixed-sex blackface store lambs from Roger Woodruffe, Awahuri, selling for $117. Reading these figures, it is obvious that the absolute top end did not change greatly (and neither should it at present) but the medium and lighter lambs, that were hit the hardest last week, reclaimed virtually all of last week's fall.
A few pens of shorn lambs did not lack for buyers but all the lambs enjoyed a good day. With the rain being so localised and unevenly distributed, the local buyers were not particularly active and most lambs headed to the South Island or Hawkes Bay.
Next week, being the final sale before Christmas will be interesting and the size of the yarding will have a big part to play.
Some cattle sections enjoyed a lift as well, especially the better traditional steers. The yarding was again dominated by yearling cattle but numbers overall were less and much more manageable.
Struan Jones of Stanway grown up children's trust sold 20 Angus two year steers for $1825 ($3.05) and the BLT Partnership, Feilding, sold 20 good yearling Angus steers for $1660 ($3.12). Steers may well have recovered the easing they suffered last week but mostly, as stated, for the better black steers.
Bulls was perhaps the day's weakest cattle section and one suspects that money could be made by those buying bulls to carry through this dry period of increased slaughter demand. Two year bulls were reasonably steady on a small yarding — D Whiting, Ashhurst, sold 4 Angus bulls for $1545 ($2.81) but the yearling bulls were harder work. Totara Grove, Halcombe, sold the heaviest yearling bulls, 16 Friesians, for $1218 ($2.54) which is clearly below recent highs.
The heifers did suffer a little with a lack of quality in the older heifers and low numbers and some pens of yearling heifers definitely looked buyable later in the sale but are not easy to place in these dry conditions. David Smart Farms, Lees Road, sold the first pen of yearling heifers, 13 Charolais cross heifers, for $1110 ($2.64) and this remained the top heifer price.
Earlier in the sale, Ngaturi Station, Pahiatua, sold 12 Angus and Angus/Hereford cross cows with calves at foot for $1670 ($2.63) so the future is still bright.
With next week being the last sale before Christmas, it is becoming plain that this market is hamstrung by the weather and yarded numbers will again be crucial.
Sheep (7000): ewes (262), $51-$85; hoggets (20), $122; lambs (6,718); 32-43kg, $87-$119, $2.45-$3.25, lift; 26-30kg, $67-$92.50, $2.48-$3.37, lift; 20-25kg, $44.50-$83, $2.13-$3.45, lift.
Cattle (1272): steers; 2yr (195), 375-599kg, $1370-$1825, $2.75-$3.15, lift; 1yr (414), 132-532kg, $380-$1660, $2.71-$3.44, lift; bulls; 2yr (33), 410-550kg, $1110-$1545, $2.71-$3.02, firm; 1yr (192), 273-479kg, $720-$1218, $2.51-$2.78, ease; heifers; 2yr (30), 285-440kg, $590-$970, $2.07-$2.53, ease; 1yr (378), 173-408kg, $520-$1110, $2.49-$2.89, ease; cows (30) and calves at foot, 510-635kg, $800-$1670, $1.57-$2.91.