Fortnightly Market Update

Livestock Market Essentials

Brought to you by Heartland Bank and AgriHQ

Updated 13 January 2020


A windy, hot dry period over the Christmas and New Year period has put pressure on pasture growth rates and pasture quality. In some areas this is putting pressure on farms to sell excess stock and go through the summer with just capital stock. Southland and Otago are the exception but are still getting unsettled weather with odd days of wintery conditions, holding back pasture growth.

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China is currently sitting out of the beef market due to the early Chinese New Year and the action of the Chinese Government around artificial protein retail prices ahead of the CNY festive season. Since the protein shortage has not been filled, there is expectation that in mid-February there will be a resurgence from Chinese buyers. US customers are making full use of the opportunity to obtain manufacturing beef whilst pushing prices down.

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The Christmas – New Year period has seen a fast readjustment in beef prices as processors look to maintain margins with the falling international prices. Slaughter prices for bull in the North Island have devalued by 50c/kg with the South Island steer market falling back by 65c/kg. Other cattle prices typically fell by 20c-30c/kg over the Christmas and New Year period. Kill space is a premium to come by for beef with the wait for space typically 2 – 3 weeks.

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Europe is picking up some of the slack left by the much quieter Chinese market, with Europe taking a third of NZ lamb in December. Frozen leg prices have strengthened over the break as the diversion of product Easter chilled orders start to put pressure on frozen supplies. The negotiations for the chilled Easter market are showing positive signs.

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Lamb schedules have eased fast in both islands over the Christmas break. These dropped by 55c-60c/kg across the country as processors readjust for the large price deductions in the Chinese markets. Prices into this week are looking like they could decrease by another 20c-25c/kg. Ewe fairs are kicking off in the North Island to very mixed results, even within sales. Good two-tooth’s were $250-$320 but could be anywhere as low as $140. Usually good five-year ewes were $180-$210, down to $125 for the mediocre types.

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Our Partnership

Heartland Bank is proud to have teamed up with AgriHQ earlier this year to form a joint partnership.

Together we were able to launch the AgriHQ Finisher Tool which was developed with the intention to make livestock buying decisions easier for farmers today.

To read more about our partnership and the AgriHQ Finisher Tool click here.

Commentary provided and written by AgriHQ and the opinions expressed in the commentary are solely those of AgriHQ not necessarily those of Heartland Bank.

The team members at AgriHQ know agricultural markets inside and out. AgriHQ’s full range of regular reports delves deeper into market intelligence to provide farmers with valuable insight they can capitalise on. Explore the intelligence you might be missing out on now at

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