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Fortnightly Market Update

Livestock Market Essentials

Brought to you by Heartland Bank and AgriHQ
Updated 30 November 2021


The back end of spring hasn’t been as kind as earlier in the season, but as a whole the country isn’t in a bad position going into summer. It’s getting tough in the Wairarapa where little rain has been recorded for at least a month. From Mid-Canterbury up to Marlborough was tracking in a similar direction but some meaningful rain in the past week has taken some of pressure off. Mild conditions and semi-frequent rains have kept grass growing well enough through much of the rest of the country though a little extra rain wouldn’t go amiss in the odd spot.

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The tide is beginning to turn on cattle slaughter prices. Bookings have shot upwards lately, and processors are taking a few cents out each week going forward, in typical fashion for this point in the year. Wait times are starting to develop, not helped by issues with staffing at processing plants. Are easily the strongest for this point in the year though, especially in the North Island were $6.50/kg was the norm across prime and bull last week. Store cattle are ho-hum in comparison to what is being made at the works. Generally younger cattle classes are weaker going than heavier, older types.

Heartland Bank Rural Loans Market UpdateHeartland Bank Rural Loans Market Update

Export markets are going from strength-to-strength, especially 95CL bull meat which is near the extreme peak reach in November 2019. Shortages of supplies out of Australia have been key, particularly given grass-fed cattle and cow production has fallen off further than feedlot beef which sells into different sub-markets to NZ. China’s prolonged ban on Brazilian beef is thought to be partly behind their increases interest in manufacturing beef from NZ, though all Asian markets are reported to be strong on other cuts too.

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Cuts to schedules have become the norm for lamb lately. Big numbers continue to be printed on the bottom of kill sheets, but the peak is certainly in the past as backlogs start to build at processors. Staffing issues are reported to be worse on lamb than cattle. Touchiness about schedule deductions and drying off paddocks have kept store demand relatively tame though as the main trading period gets underway. On average lamb growth is below normal levels, though has started catching up in the past few weeks.

Heartland Bank Rural Loans Market UpdateHeartland Bank Rural Loans Market Update


Heartland Bank Rural Loans Market UpdateHeartland Bank Rural Loans Market Update

NZ lamb exporters have remained upbeat about markets besides the ongoing nightmare that is shipping cost and delays. Basically all cuts tracked by AgriHQ have held or lifted versus a month ago. Often demand can taper off for sales beyond the Chinese New Year deadline but that’s not been heard of to date. Lower production levels in the UK have kept both this market and mainland Europe more active than earlier in the year. The US market is looking good too, where frenched racks have almost doubled in value in only eight months.

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