The roller coaster ride continues for sheep and beef farmers, although the peaks and troughs may not be as steep or deep as usual.

The livestock markets are not at the peaks they have been, but remain strong for those with the glass half full mentality.

Independent Whanganui livestock agent and commentator David Cotton considers himself a glass half full kind of guy and believes the markets are not only strong, but also stable.

"We are starting with a new season (prime) lamb schedule at $8.20/kg, not as high as the $8.80/kg winter peak, but being a glass half full person that's still at a very acceptable level and still a dollar higher than this time last year," Cotton said.


Mutton has also remained strong, even after the huge increase in price in 2017.

"Ewes were fetching $3.55/kg in April 2017, but by November had shot up to an astonishing $5/kg as the Chinese entered the market to buy. The current price today is $5.20/kg, slightly higher than the peak last season, and is underpinning the wet/dry ewe market.

"The store lamb job has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. The first of the new season store lambs that hit Stortford Lodge in mid-October made an eye-watering $4.85/kg (or $126 for a 26kg lamb). That was on Wednesday October 17, but at Feilding two days later (Friday, October 19), the roller coaster bottomed out at $3.60/kg."

Cotton said a variety of factors were at play.

"I think is was combination of factors including farmers thinking the new season stores were a bit too dear at Stortford, the prospect of a forecast dry summer looming and the start of the Hawkes Bay Show that weekend. However, with the rain arriving in the last few weeks Feilding bounced back to $4/kg on Friday, November 2."

The cattle market is generally about 25 cents/kg back on last year's schedules (killing price).

"It still remains strong and well above the $5/kg mark, which is pretty damn good if you're a glas half full person. The store cattle market rode up last week, again driven by rain in the region. However, with the forecast suggesting a dry summer it may pay to start thinking about booking space at the works with Christmas looming.

"There will be a few short killing weeks with Christmas/New Year, Wellington Anniversary Day and Waitangi day on the horizon," Cotton said.