The Sheep, Deer and Cattle Report: More wet weather and cold conditions forecast as winter proper tests supplementary feed reserves


More small lifts this week for lamb export schedules, as pricing is nearing peak levels.

Markets in the UK are showing weak demand especially for legs, while in China prices appear to have peaked, as buyers are now stockpiling stocks for future demand.

In the US demand remains strong, and one processor reports winter contracts are still to be maximised.

Southland farmer and ex MP Jeff Grant has been appointed as the new chair of Ag Research, and will be the leader driving change and development of the Agricultural Hub at Lincoln.

NZ Merino has invested research funds into foot rot, and warn there is no quick fix to this problem, but report a study of resistant genes will be the way forward in controlling this disease.


The first sale of the new season in the South saw prices firming, but from a low base. Sales were only made from 77% of the offering, and brokers report about 20% of new seasons fleece and oddments was withdrawn before the sale.

The market was cautious even with a weaker currency, but finer crossbred fleece and first lambs did lift in price.

Wools of NZ have offered a lambs’ wool contract for the 2018 season of $4.50/kg clean for 28-30 micron product with tight specifications, and this is reported to be about $1/kg ahead of the present spot market.

It is noted that overseas shearers are now filling the gaps in the skill shortages for this task. Many new entrants find this work physically challenging and the hours avaliable sometimes short, due to weather and lower sheep numbers.


More easing in beef schedules this week, as most NZ exporters have sold well ahead for this time of year.

Domestic chilled supply is running also ahead of consumption and is under some price pressure, but with the very wet cold conditions this could alter the volume of animals offered for harvest.

Few stores are being traded and demand has weakened due to very wet soil conditions making wintering heavy cattle costly and difficult.

The US put a ban on imports of Brazilian beef into that country, after shipments of product failed to meet that countries tough regulatory standards.


Venison schedules are still stable but demand for product remains strong, with one company removing the discount on females older than 3 years, to entice more animals into a market short of product.

Research has shown product from well fed older females retains its tenderness and quality, unlike its male counterparts which toughens with age.