The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: More climate nervousness as El Nino season looks more likely


Schedules eased this week as the currency strengthened and processors still report surplus stocks in China, but steady and stable demand from important UK, European, and US markets.

Present processing numbers are low but with good chilled demand reported by processors for lambs pre Christmas and a short supply possible especially in the south, producers will be hopeful of some rise in price over this period.

The El Nino forecast is now looking very likely so careful monitoring of feed and stock will be needed to allow early decisions to take advantage of this premium opportunity.

As the nation completes tailing, advisers suggest the focus should readjust to achieving growth rates of 400grammes per day for growing lambs, as past trials suggest a creep feeding system has merits to achieve the goal of a big harvest of heavy lambs at weaning.

Lucerne forage has been making a comeback as a lamb finishing feed and those in dry areas will also be sowing other summer growing species to allow the balance of the crop to be finished.

The first of the spring lambs are now arriving at local saleyards with pricing behind last years lambs, and marketers report concern on demand for frozen product produced after Christmas.

More falls in wool prices at last weeks South Island auction driven by the currency rise and a tight Chinese economy, and the 30% passing rate was led by the finer micron offering with the mid micron indicator easing nearly a $1 kg clean, but other micron classes to a much lesser degree.

Merino NZ claims it’s contracting operation has reduced the volatility of pricing of the wool business and plans to expand its foray into the crossbred wool market.

Beef schedules continue to fall off the past highs as volumes increase in storage for quota restricted US beef, and consumer resistance grows for the high prices for the product, and preference returns to cheaper pork and chicken.

Demand however continues for chilled markets but volumes are low and the firming currency now 5cUS higher in the last month is impacting on NZ farmer returns.

The flood of dairy beef animals on the market has subdued demand with some yearlings in South Island saleyards proving difficult to sell but beef types maintained positive price levels even in the face of an uncertain climate future.

The first of the North Island spring dairy weaner sales was held in Frankton with most 100-120kg well marked bulls selling for over $4/kg lwt which was about $20 a head better than last year.


More schedule price falls this week again blamed on the currency, but marketers are positive about growing demand out of the UK, North American, and the Cervena trial into the Netherlands that looks to sell the chilled product all year round.

Warmer weather speeds up the growth of velvet antler and regular harvesting will allow heads to be cut at optimum time for the markets requirements.