Updated 11 February 2019
The last two weeks has seen summer well and truly arrive over most of the country. Some areas such as Southland have benefitted from this. It has been less welcome in other areas however, such as Nelson which has been fighting fires. Soil moisture deficit graphs are showing only a small amount of green, indicating that most areas are drier than usual for this time of the year. Pasture levels are still manageable as farmers work through the surplus from earlier in the year. Southland and the West Coast are expected to get some rain this week while the rest of the country is likely to remain drier than normal.
Cattle slaughter in both islands have remained steady for now. In the North, bull prices are $5.05/kg, and in the South $5.00/kg is the most common price. Cow schedules in the North Island have eased as areas such as the Waikato dry out. In the North most are sitting at $4.00/kg and in the South Island there is yet to be any depth to numbers prices are around $3.80-$4.10/kg. As early pregnancy testing begins to take place this may increase cow numbers. There is beginning to be more of a wait to get stock killed in both Islands, however for now this is mainly to do with public holidays making for short killing weeks.
Heavy rain has disrupted cattle trade in Northern Queensland. Townsville is home to the export yards which serve as the port or 23% of Australia’s 1.1 million live cattle exports, which has been closed indefinitely. Meat processors in the area have also has unscheduled down time, however as they are not currently in heavy production, they are confident this won’t cause too many issues. To put it on to context however, Queensland kills approximately 65,000 head of cattle per week at the time of the year which is more than New Zealand’s peak weekly beef production.
Lamb schedules hold steady in both islands for now at $6.85/kg in the South Island and $7.20/kg in the North Island. Processors are at comfortable capacity, with slightly longer wait times common last week due to Waitangi Day. Processors have indicated they would like to see another 10c/kg taken out of schedules. Whether they can make this stick will depend on pasture levels around the country, and whether they are filling orders for the tail end of the Easter chilled production period. With little competition from Australian lamb products, means strong demand from the US for NZ product. French racks are selling at US0c/lb above last year. The UK market remains quiet waiting for a Brexit outcome.
Venison schedules have continued to decline, strongly indicating that the historically high prices of last season are gone. In the North Island, AP stage prices have eased to an average of $9.65/kg, while below last year it is still well above the five-year average. This is a similar story in the South Island with schedules at an average of $9.68/kg. Lower prices are being driven by a longer than normal European summer meaning some key customers carried inventory through form the previous year into 2019.
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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.
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