More easing of lamb schedules,and with now only two weeks remaining for the UK Easter chilled trade, the realities of the weak frozen market will soon be reflected in prices.
Silver Fern Farms report lamb forequaters purchased mainly by China and the Middle East are at 15 year price lows, and are a big influence in the low returns.
The processing numbers have slowed rapidly after an early kill, and the summer feed has allowed managers to try and compensate for these poor prices by increasing the killable weights.
By products and skins continue to disappoint, and processors report little hope of change as much of the present production is presold, but at least wool prices and a weakening currency have been some help in the existing value.
Prime lambs in saleyards have remained steady in value with local trade prices static, but the store lamb market has lifted $10/hd over the last month as the feed supply has improved and the moisture has stimulated good clover growth.
After many farms had quit stock early in anticipation of a dry season, the summer rains have brought feed and increased demand for store ewes and the price lifts seem out of kilter with the falling schedules for mutton and lamb.
Good mixed aged ewes were priced around $100 in the north with 2 tooths peaking in the $150-$160 range, and the early South Island sale at Hawarden was stronger than expected after significant recent rains and grass growth in the area.
At the double island wool sale prices eased slightly on a similar currency, but a 94% clearance showed vendors are very happy with the present wool market which is at it’s highest rate for 5 years.
A new Vice Chancellor has been appointed to Lincoln University, and the Canterbury raised academic Professor Robin Pollard will be welcome, as the post earthquake rebuild and implementation of the Lincoln science hub will require strong leadership if this organization is to regain it’s status in agricultural education.
Prime beef schedules again lifted slightly this week as processing numbers fall, and volumes are now behind last year after being well ahead a month ago.
South Island local trade schedules are steady but have lifted in the north as a response to supply shortages, and prime steers at the local saleyards are still selling well when normally at this time of year they traditionally fall.
The store cattle market has been reinvigorated and prices for older animals have passed $3/kg lwt as the feed situation has improved and sheep purchasing options fail to excite.
At these rates buyers must be very optimistic about prices a year out especially as the old traders adage of “buying and selling on the same market” at present has a 20-30c /kg lwt premium in favour of replacement stores.
More stable venison prices this week that may reflect a summer bottom that if it eventuates will give the deer sector a big boost in confidence, and hopefully attract interest in surplus females for breeding.
Good prices for velvet this season has reflected that New Zealand now produces the world’s premium product, built by stable prices in the last few years, and diversification of the markets.