Updated 21 October 2019
A bit cold and a bit wet has been the catch-cry of the regions when talking about the weather lately. The rain has more often than not been welcomed as a few regions were beginning to get concerned about how dry paddocks were getting this far away from summer. Warmth is still wanted down in the South Island where growth hasn’t been quite up to par, but North Island areas are still faring reasonably well. Lamb survivability has been excellent almost everywhere.
Beef schedules are looking very healthy across all grades, though it’s bull and cow which have the potential for growth given the big cash being paid by international buyers. Some extra capacity is being opened by processors which should support the market in the short-term. Only the weak local trade scene may put a cap on how much will be offered for export prime. Forward store cattle are in demand wherever offered, while yearlings are solid but not outstanding selling. Unease continues to smother South Island dairy calf interest.
US beef buyers have worked through a lot of their stocks, finding themselves paying well above the odds to secure what little beef is available out of NZ. A clear indication of this is the imported 90CL price, which is above the US domestic price for the first time in a number of years. How long they’ll tolerate this trend before backing out is up in the air. Either way Chinese and Canadian buyers appear more than ready to take what the US won’t.
It’s all getting a bit quiet for the lamb and mutton kill. Old season lambs are slowly drying up, and new season lambs are still a few weeks away from making a serious appearance. However this isn’t prompting any price-wars, with the majority of processors keeping prices steady last week. If there is any upside to schedules from here it will be minimal. The first serious offerings of spring lambs were found in the Feilding and Stortford yards last week – intense interest saw these average $143/hd. Ewes with lambs-at-foot are mainly selling to steady interest.
It’s still all about China for export lamb sales. Lamb flaps are selling for record prices, while other cuts are mainly lifting. The chilled lamb trade into Europe has left exporters a little disappointed, but are still respectable in a historic perspective. Sales into the US are muted, mainly due weakening interest in heavy (i.e out of spec) French racks.
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