The livestock market is back on track after taking a breather in April when Easter and Anzac Day were celebrated within days of each other this year.
Saleyard and processing numbers were down as the two statutory holiday breaks collided.
Sheep and beef farmers in the Whanganui region, in general, are in better shape than our neighbours with rainfall favouring the coastal area rather than around the inland hills.
Independent livestock commentator, farmer and Whanganui's Horizons Regional councillor David Cotton said timely rain had helped Whanganui's cause.
"I think we are in better shape than those up in Hunterville and Taihape," Cotton said.
"I recorded 139mm of rain for April on my Kai Iwi farm, which is well above my 101mm average. The highest in recent years was the 303mm in the 2014 floods. Outside Whanganui though, up Hunterville and Taihape and Taupo way it's a lot drier.
"While we in Whanganui have had good new grass and winter crops in our paddocks for fattening stock and to feed the tupping ewes, others have not been so lucky.
"The livestock market took a breather mid-April with the short week kills when Anzac Day and Easter fell within days of each other this year. Both the saleyards and the meat plants slowed right down. Prior to this we had record numbers of lambs traded in the saleyards and privately. So with this slow down prices eased.
"However, the sting returned to the market last week at Stortford Lodge and Feilding with the average price for store lambs topped $3.80/kg for both male and females. That equates to an average $125 for a 33kg lamb which is bloody good.
"We don't have to go too far back in history when it wasn't so good. On April 1, 2016 the average price at Feilding was $2.40/kg, equating to $80 a lamb. That extra $40 or so extra we are getting today goes straight into farmers' pockets - you can see why sheep farmers have got a smile on their faces and I can't see why the store lamb market will get any cheaper any time soon, other than drought over the next few years."
DoC and WorkSafe investigating cyclist's death
Woman who died in Whanganui National Park named
Cotton said one threat to farming he was concerned about was good productive land going into trees.
"My understanding is that a 60,000 stock unit block in Pongaroa near Dannevirke and an 80,000 stock unit farm in Wairoa have sold to forestry in the last eight weeks and there is more to come.
"These big multi-national companies don't bother selling a bit here or there on these large farms they buy, so neighbouring farmers can grow crops or feed stock, they just blanket plant trees. With my regional councillor's hat on I support the planting of trees. The right tree in the right place for the right reason is sound practice, but I cannot support the blanket planting of trees."
Meanwhile, the lack of good cattle feed in most parts of the country combined with the short week kills have kept meat plants full.
"This in turn has kept a lid of store cattle prices. When compared to April 2016 we are back 10c-20c/kg liveweight, but is still okay. We have yet another good month down on the farm and it's looking pretty good for May too," Cotton said.