Livestock Market Essentials
Brought to you by Heartland Bank and AgriHQ
Updated 01 March 2021
BEEF MARKET UPDATE
After a decent soak to paddocks two weeks ago, it was a very dry week in the North Island last week. The South Island has had a bit more rain in the past week, with Canterbury and Southland getting some moisture. Soil moisture levels are low throughout the country, particularly in the Central North Island and eastern areas of the South Island.
Farmgate beef prices have seesawed in the North Island over the past two weeks. After inching upwards initially due to competition over top-end cattle, a steady supply of cattle to processors and a high NZD has prompted processors to reduce schedules and operating prices. There are expected to be price drops at the farmgate for all North Island cattle this week. South Island farmgate beef prices were steadier than North Island over February. Prices have been consistently depressed due to a strong supply of prime cattle to slaughter and the start of the dairy cow kill is also adding numbers to the chain. Staffing issues are slowing throughput and limiting capacity in both islands, which is another reason why South Island processors reduced schedules and operating prices this week.
Store cattle trading in the North Island has been unenthusiastic this fortnight. Aside from some heightened competition over lighter traditional steers and dairy-beef weaners at times, the market has weakened overall. This is largely due to dry weather throughout the island and the need for rain to fire-up the market. A lack of buyers in the South Island has cheapened the market for store cattle significantly since the beginning of February. However, the fact most cattle offered have been dairy-beef types has not helped attract competition.
LAMB MARKET UPDATE
Last week, the North Island farmgate lamb price was resilient in the face of processors dropping the price. However, this is not expected to be the case next week, due to consistent and elevated price drops at the farmgate by major processors. A strong supply of lambs to slaughter and dry conditions throughout the island, as well as the exchange rate and operational issues which contributed to beef price pull-backs at the farmgate. By contrast, the South Island lamb slaughter price has been declining steadily over the past three weeks, due to a strong supply of lambs to processors. Further downward pressure is expected next week, for the same applicable reasons as in the North Island.
North Island store lamb prices were subdued at the beginning of the fortnight, as dry conditions capped demand. Rain then greased the market which allowed for higher competition in the Feilding store sale, leading some uptick in paddock prices last week. However, a drop at the farmgate this week will undoubtedly put pressure on last week’s gains. The South Island store lamb market has been healthier and more competitive than the North Island market, despite cooler prices at the South Island farmgate comparatively. A good selection of lambs are meeting the market in the face of drier conditions throughout the island.