The livestock markets are taking a breather before the farming community enters the next phase - one that hints at exciting times ahead.

The past month has been a quiet time as the new-season lambs hit the ground with good survival rates this side of the island.

Independent Whanganui livestock agent and market commentator David Cotton said farmers in the east of the North Island, especially in the Hawke's Bay/Gisborne regions, had not been so lucky.

"A two-day storm came through and wiped out possibly as many as 100,000 stock," Cotton said.


"On a more positive note, the plough has come out and a new season looms with the cycle of cash crops and green feeds beginning. The last of the old-season lambs are being killed before teeth become an issue."

The lamb schedule peaked at $8.80/kg and is now coming back, so time is of the essence. Over the next four to six weeks lambs will begin to cut their two teeth and will no longer be able to be sold at lambs.

"Weights I have seen at the bottom of killing sheets are the highest I can recall," Cotton said.

"Many lines averaged over 20kg (up to 25kg), giving farmers an excellent return of $180-$210 a head.

"Numbers of livestock traded at this time of year are always low and we can see this at the sale yards, so it is a great time for agents to take a well-earned break before the new-season lambs and cattle start to flow in early November.

"The lack of rain and talk of drought has kept the cattle market steady rather than the normal spring highs. The weak New Zealand dollar is also helping to keep the cattle market steady.

"But if the weather gods play their part and are kind we are in for a cracker of a season. Lambs are on a high, beef is solid, mutton is at an all-time high and interest rates are low. This is the best I've seen all our ducks lined up so perfectly in a row. The weather just needs to be on our side," Cotton said.