Livestock Market Essentials
Brought to you by Heartland Bank and AgriHQ
Updated 13 June 2022
BEEF MARKET UPDATE
A weekend of wind, rain, snow, and hail after thunderstorms have battered there way over both islands. A drop in temperatures in the South Island will see most regions prone to frosts this week as the weather begins to settle. Dramatic weather is not unheard of in June with most farmers well prepared. Hay and baleage stacks will likely be delved into with pasture growth now stalled.
While processing space for cattle has grown, with backlogs 2-3 weeks now over the country, the second wave of staff absenteeism may be just around the corner. As winter is upon us, flu’s alongside Covid are the next concern for plants. Coupling this with another short week over Matariki, it would feel like plants continue to chase their tails. Prime cattle are still sitting between $5.80-$6.05/kg with small increases each week. Spring contracts are looking solid with up to $6.50/kg plus for prime cattle and $5/kg for cow.
Wet paddocks throughout the country are going to put pressure on those that haven’t been able to get their heavy cattle away to processors. The delays in the plants are causing the cattle store market to slow down, with most cattle types a hard sell. But the R2 market has had a good few weeks before the weather really deteriorated. The 6000 cattle meant for the failed live export shipment a few weeks ago have been filtered through various saleyards, all selling at local market prices. Cattle meant for the processors that were sent back to the farm caused some trucking issues for the store market, also contributing to the slow down.
LAMB MARKET UPDATE
Lamb slaughter prices continue to rise, as procurement competition continues throughout the plants. A mid-point of $8.85/kg is expected for lamb going into this week, with mutton the high end of $5/kg. Sourcing lambs in the South Island has become an issue with some agents fueling competition by buying lambs from the North Island and transporting them down. When it comes to export markets, domestic supplies in the UK are picking up now and inventories are high therefore demand for NZ lamb has dropped off. With Europe now being in summer demand remains for certain cuts however inflation is causing consumers to cut down on discretionary spending, including eating out, and it’s putting downward pressure on pricing. Demand from China is subdued, as inventories are still being worked as shipping backlogs ease. The US seems to be the only strong market at present.
Store lamb prices in the paddocks have ranged between steady and a little firmer. Sales have not been as fluid as they have been in recent weeks with winter having arrived. The poor weather may see a few extra lambs come into the yards, but we seem to be in a period where winter traders are currently holding maximum stock levels. As the lamb schedule continues to rise farmers are holding on for as long as their feed levels will allow. Movements in the market will take place once some of the held stock have been killed and traders begin to look for replacements again. Ewe scanning has started, with results varying on location. The North Island seems to have started off a little lower than normal with the very beginning of the South more positive.