Another week of stable schedules reflects the market uncertainty brought about by Brexit and the following currency rises against the kiwi dollar, and prospects look flat for the early season.
Scanning results in many areas of the North Island are back 15-30% due to the severe autumn facial eczema outbreak, but early results from southern flocks look to be well above average.
Some early lambs are now being seen in both islands but are arriving onto an uncertain market that while supply is short has failed to ignite any demand or price lifts.
A shortage of stock has driven demand for 7100 in lamb ewes sold at Temuka last week, with young fertile sheep reaching $182, and even annual draft ewes made over $150 per head which seems ahead of present market prospects.
Lack of numbers has kept store and prime lamb prices lifting at the saleyards and ahead of last year, but most sheep farmers are still struggling for profitability at these levels.
The first South Island wool sale of the season produced another disappointing result and only 61% of the offering was sold.
Buyers targeted only the best wools for immediate orders only, as higher than required Chinese stocks and global financial insecurity, dampened demand.
Indicator prices did however lift from last week’s North Island sale, with coarse crossbred wools rising over $5 again, but mid micron fibres dropping again to a new yearly low of 817c/kg.
Some farmers report they have received 50c/kg less for wool between recent sales and these latest falls will add to the falling profits from the sheep sector.
The poor financial plight of Wool Equities has been publicised this week and it appears their ambitious plans for growth have come unstuck and wool growers funds have all but disappeared.
More flat beef schedules this week, as US cattle futures plummeted to a five year low, and increased global competition for NZ beef suggests this sectors recent high returns maybe about to ease.
Early prices for dairy bull weaners are still reflecting last year’s markets, but buyers should be cautious as already export schedules for both prime and bull values are 30c/kg behind last year.
Few store animals are being traded in the south and while there is more activity in northern saleyards due to good winter pasture growth, interest seems to be more focused on younger animals.
South Island prime steers sold at the saleyards are still rising in price on the back of the lack of quality animals being offered, but in the north prices have been stable for the last two months.
Another small lift for venison schedules this week, but concerns about the currency remain, as the Euro is now 6-8% stronger against the Kiwi than it was last July.
Venison finishers in the south have been enjoying the dry mild winter, and should reach or exceed spring liveweight targets for the chilled market.