Analyst Intel

18 February 2019

ACROSS THE RAILS: A sea of traditional cattle a fantastic sight

BySuz BremnerSuz Bremner

What beef farmer doesn’t love casting an eye over a sea of well-bred traditional cattle, shining in the East Coast sunshine on a hot summer day. I know it makes me smile to see such a line-up and last week two prominent fairs on the east coast of the North Island were looked on by many with satisfaction.

On Tuesday the first Matawhero cattle fair for 2019 played host to 1400 mainly traditional and exotic R3 and R2 steers while Dannevirke opened its gates on Thursday for similar volumes of similar cattle. Sales of these size and type of cattle don’t come along too often, offering buyers the best chance to bid on top notch traditional and exotic steers in high volumes. The main players in both the markets hail from Manawatu and Central Hawke’s Bay and with contracts above everyday prices tend to be very hard to beat by your average Joe Buyer who comes along. The big line sizes are a real attraction with unit-loads full with just a few well-placed bids. 

There was no denying the high demand for the quality lines at Matawhero’s fair and R3 Angus and Angus-Hereford steers, 470-495kg, easily sold to $1505-$1575, $3.16-$3.21/kg while heavier weights for exotic steers, 485-525kg, meant higher per-head prices up to $1650 though slightly lower dollars per kilo at $3.05-$3.17/kg. R2 steers added 10c/kg to their older brothers’ prices and Angus, 380-415kg, all traded at $3.30-$3.42/kg. 

At Dannevirke it was all about the annual draft cattle and traditional breeds easily dominated. A sea of black greeted sale-goers, broken only by a few whiteheads and half a dozen pens of exotics. No weights are recorded at this yard but buyers don’t need them to know the growth potential of these cattle because many have bought them before. The best of the R3 Angus made $1600-$1770, which covered the majority, while R2 Angus mostly traded at $1350-$1550. Angus-Hereford were right on the money too with the top line making $1610 and the bulk of the balance, $1380-$1490.