A healthy dose of rain throughout the Whanganui district has had a huge impact on the fortunes of farmers.

The price of store lambs has lifted a full dollar a kilogram since the December dry, although not all hill country store stock farmers can cash in.

Independent livestock operator and commentator David Cotton said those forced to sell because of the dry in December were receiving on average $2.28/kg based on the final Feilding sale of 2017 on December 21.

"I feel for those guys because they will need to wait 12 months to get another lick of the ice cream," Mr Cotton said.


"Those who got some of that very localised rainfall and thunderstorms and managed to retain stock will be looking pretty with the price rising to $3.30/kg in a matter of weeks (based on Feilding sale last Friday). Predicting the market is a bit like riding a surfboard, you can feel it moving under your feet.

"However, what has surprised is how strong the schedule remained.

"It was around $7/kg (kill weight) and has remained at that despite the companies holding the whip hand. Some companies shut down for Christmas week when killing space was extremely tight anyway, so I would have understood a falling schedule, but it held very well and I think it will continue to hold through to the Easter trade."

Mr Cotton said the traders, or lamb finishers, were the ones who stood to make a good dollar.

"And it's all really been driven by that good drop of rain. The first real inkling of how the market will go will come from the results of the first major sales for 2018 this week when Franklin, Stortford Lodge, Feilding and Dannevirke resume.

"Before Christmas I would say about 85 per cent of the calls I got were from sellers, but now 95 per cent are coming from prospective buyers — how quickly things change," he said.