The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Store lamb market drops sharply as farmers destock for the summer dry


More falls in lamb schedules as processors report little hope that the smallest lamb crop for the last 60 years will ignite the present poor frozen product prices.

Processors report competition is fierce amongst global exporters for market share and that  unfortunately is keeping prices low in the short term and NZ kill volumes are now well ahead of last year.

Chilled production for Easter will recommence in early January and will put a bottom on the market, but with a month to go and only Chinese buying able to halt the slide, more price falls are predicted.

The dry and tight feed conditions has had a dramatic effect on saleyard prices in the dry eastern South Island  with store lambs dropping $10/hd last week and volumes of smaller lambs increasing and proving hard to sell.

North Island values are also falling but with many areas still with feed, prices are $10 /head better than the south and in fact some lambs have been transported north to take advantage of this island premuim.

Space at the works is at a premium and cull ewes are being sold early as the destocking commences in preparation for the predicted dry summer conditions ahead.

The Meat Industry Excellence committee decide to continue their campaign for industry reform with new leadership, as they lament the loss of opportunities for Co-Operative amalgamation, and raise concerns how Alliance will survive the new competitive environment especially as sheep numbers have dropped to a 60 year low.

The South Island wool auction was well supported despite a firmer currency and all indicator prices lifted, except fine crossbred.

After a cancelled sale in the north last week this weeks North Island event will offer 9200 bales to test the markets strength at these currency levels.

Beef schedules stabilized this week as the US market took a breather, but Chinese interest remains strong with last month being NZ’s largest export market, and Australia seems to be running out of killable stock.

Saleyard prime steer volumes have increased with the dry and falling local trade schedules, and are easing early in the normal post Christmas price falls.

Big numbers of dairy beef weaners are now being traded and values have held well as good rains in the north kept farmers optimistic, and most animals sold well above last years rates.


More easing of venison schedules but interest in frozen product looks sound and processors report pricing should remain ahead of last year.

Positive velvet sale prices will add momentumn to sire stag sales as managers look to lock in this advantage with superior genes.

The Deer Farmers Association has encouraged farmers to have a drought plan as the importance of keeping condition on milking hinds is critical for weaner growth rates and fertility at mating in the autumn.