Common explains smaller yardings
Smaller yardings and easing prices were the story of February at the Stortford Lodge saleyards.
PGG Wrightson livestock manager Neil Common said there were a number of reasons for this.
"Everyone hung on to their stock during January because they had plenty of feed which meant the meat companies were looking for stock and lifting schedules.
"It's coming forward now causing bottlenecks at processing plants and subsequent reductions in prices."
There have been sales in January and February where no prime cattle were offered and prime yardings generally have been small.
The exception to this has been store ewes. A number of farm sales saw big numbers of capital stock ewes come forward. They sold at only a little below ewe fair prices and well above works value. "It was pleasing to see they found new homes to continue breeding," Common said.
Prime ewe numbers have been dropping and the quality variable as processing space has reduced.
"Prices have eased because the plants are processing lambs before ewes."
Common said farmers could have been hanging on to their lighter cull ewes to put more weight on them for sale.
Prime lamb numbers have also been small and gain quality has varied with many store level lambs offered.
It is too early for the winter lamb buyers to be active so prices have also eased.
Store lamb numbers have been falling and prices also easing.
Common said other parts of the North Island were drier than Hawke's Bay and farmers offloading stock which meant buyers were not coming to Hawke's Bay.
A feature of February store lamb yardings was the number of stock from the Chatham Islands.
They were mostly of good quality and sold well.
The prime cattle sales have been something of a non-event with few or no cattle offered.
Common said farmers were keeping their cattle to eat the long rank grass to improve pasture quality before autumn rain.
The story has been much the same with store cattle kept to eat grass and grow bigger.
Farmers have welcomed this week's rain as they focus on cleaning up grass and putting rams out with the ewes.
Common said they were still feeling happy and reasonably confident after a good year for both feed supply and prices for their stock.
Weaner cattle fairs are coming up with about 1600 steers, 250 bulls and 1100 heifers expected in the first ones in early March.
The fall in returns for prime cattle could be reflected at the fairs but prices should still mean a good margin for a beef cow, Common said.
Stortford Lodge: Easing bull prices hard to explain
Bull prices eased further at yesterday's Stortford Lodge store sale.
Agents said they could not explain the recent lack of interest in 18-month bulls.
The heifers on offer in the yarding of about 130 head sold up to recent values.
There were no steers offered.
In the sheep section store lamb prices also eased in line with easing meat schedules and a lack of buyers.
Heifers: Tanark Trust, Hales Rd, 11 2½yr here, av weight, 454kg, 262c/kg, $1190/head. 18mth, April 24 Trust, Te Hauke, 17 sth dev, av weight, 344kg, 300c/kg, $1035/head; seven ang-here, av weight, 350kg, 294c/kg, $1030/head; six crossbred, av weight, 309kg, 313c/kg, $970/head; six ang, av weight, 207kg, 299c/kg, $810/head; M and Z Kyle, Apley Rd, six here-fries, av weight, 331kg, 239c/kg, $795/head; MacKay Family Trust, Pukahu, seven wnr fries, av weight, 214kg, 226c/kg, $485/head.
Bulls: 18mth, C and L Hutchinson, Porangahau, 15 fries, av weight, 421kg, 261c/kg, $100/head; 16 fries-cross, av weight, 433kg, 230c/kg, $1000/head; five fries, av weight, 380kg, 260c/kg, $990/head; six fries-cross, av weight, 390kg, 220c/kg, $860/head; Parks Peak Station, Wakarara, five here, av weight, 343kg, 275c/kg, $945/head; five here, av weight, 260kg, 287c/kg, $750/head; Hinerua Station, Wakarara, nine ang and ang-here, av weight, 405kg, 271c/kg, $1100/head.
Ewes: DR Heays Ltd, Kaiwaka, 114 5yr peren, $141.
Lambs: M Willis Family Trust, Porangahau, 207 rom ewe, $115; 55 c/o, $110; 37 c/o, $102; 23 c/o, $127; 25 ewe, $98; 179 ewe, $109.50; G and L Hutchinson, Porangahau, 23 m/s b/f, $95; Carlyon Station, Farm Rd, 68 c/o, $129; 104 c/o, $118; Matariki Trust, Ashley Clinton,111 male, $123.50; 86 c/o, $112.
Small yardings, easing schedules, a lack of buyers and a continuing shortage of processing space meant lower prices all round at Monday's sale.
There were only four cattle on offer, 273 lambs and about 800 ewes.
Heifers: (Here-fries) av weight, 480kg, 247c/kg, $1185/head. Oxen: (Ang) av weight, 672kg, 265c/kg, $1780/head.
Ewes: Slipe, good, $145; med, $124.50 to $135; light, $99 to $121. Shorn, good, $145.50; light, $106.
Lambs: Male, $106 to $150; b/f, $122 to $155. M/s, $96 to $133; b/f, $131 to 4148.