Tipping future livestock market prices is not an easy call, but one Whanganui commentator has delivered on his predictions.
Independent livestock agent David Cotton conceded that prime lamb prices had exceeded even his high expectations.
"The lamb market is sky high, that high I think Air New Zealand will have to put it on their menu," Cotton said.
"I had a couple of stock agents give me a ribbing back in March when I predicted a $8/kg prime lamb schedule for the winter, but I have to admit the prices being paid have exceeded my expectation.
"There is a wide range of pricing now available, all over $8/kg even up to $8.40/kg with shorn pelt premiums added in. We still have a few weeks left in the season for it to go even higher, so watch this space," he predicted.
In comparison the lamb schedule was $6.75/kg in early August 2017.
"At the current average price of $8.25/kg that's a massive $1.50/kg increase in price when you add to that the average lamb kill weight has also gone up again this year you are looking at an extra $30-$40 per head on your kill sheet."
With the strong killing price of lambs, farmers would expect the store market to react, and it has.
"Record prices have been set in the sale yards over the past two weeks with light-to-medium weight lambs over $5/kg liveweight with some saleyards reporting $4.50/kg plus as the average sale price ($3.20/kg August 2017).
"The mutton price is also at a record high $5/kg plus, and with that in mind the scanned in-lamb ewes don't appear too expensive, trading at $150-$200 at the top end.
"Coming back down to earth the cattle prices are slightly back on last year, but still in my view solid and still provide a profit to farm.
"In late July the 300kg bull schedule averaged $5.30/kg with the store Friesian bulls trading at $2.70/kg. We compare this to 2017 when a 300kg bull kill price was $5.60/kg with the store bulls trading at $3.05/kg."
Prime ox has lifted over the last week to be similar to last year at $5.60/kg pushed by the local trade buyers, which is common at this time of the year.
"Lambing is well under way with reports of high survival rates due to the mild winter, so all in all we are looking like having a promising 2018/2019 season," Cotton said.