Much of Asia has been swept by swine flu, resulting in a huge cull of pigs. This has led to a shortage of protein which has been good news for both beef and lamb in New Zealand.
The good news continued for farmers during September.

There was plenty of rain to ease drought fears and set grass growth alight.

And the returns for their stock of all classes remained high with little sign of easing.
At the Stortford Lodge saleyards store lambs prices held up as supply diminished but prime lambs took the spotlight during the month.

Well-finished prime lambs arrived in big numbers off orchards and blocks about to be put into crops for the summer. Vendors were also keen to sell because the lambs are close to cutting their adult teeth and dropping in value.

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The big supply did not harm prices at all with most pens heading over the $200 mark for a 50kg-plus male lamb. Even some pens of good ewe lambs weighing around the 40kg mark topped $200.

PGG Wrightson livestock manager Neil Common said markets in China and the US preferred the heavier carcases.

Much of Asia and especially China have been swept by swine flu, resulting in a huge cull of pigs. This has led to a shortage of protein which has been good news for both beef and lamb in New Zealand.

Drought in Australia is another reason for a worldwide demand for New Zealand lamb.
Store lamb numbers dropped off but largely maintained their quality during the month. Again the prices held up with $180 and more not uncommon.

Prime ewes rose after dipping slightly in August. Numbers were not big but with lamb weaning about to start they can be expected to grow during October.

The only big offering of ewes with lambs at foot were the annual drafts from Cricklewood Station, Wairoa. The station sends in its 5 and 6-year-old ewes with terminal lambs at foot most years and they are always in demand. The best of them made around $130 all counted. The best of the smaller lots made around $120 with many more around $110.

Terminal lambs drew a premium.

In the cattle section prime cattle prices climbed above the $3/kg mark again for the best angus oxen. Numbers also climbed as the grass grew at last.

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Store cattle prices began to lift in line with an early grass market. Some sales offered big numbers of dairy-cross stock which generally sold well. Good 350kg angus steers sold especially well, reaching $4/kg.

Common said farmers were feeling "pretty positive" overall with strong returns and good grass growth on top of good lambing and calving percentages.

The spring has so far been windy and sometimes cold and some settled weather would be welcome, he said.

However, markets were looking good and the grass was growing well.

The only clouds on the farming horizon were the number of farms being sold into forestry and the Government's plans for cleaning up waterways, he said.