Analyst Intel

1 November 2019

ACROSS THE RAILS | Dairy-beef weaner fairs all the rage

By Suz Bremner Suz Bremner

Dairy-beef weaner fairs are all the rage at North Island yards in dairy-dominant regions as autumn-born and spring calves start or continue their journey.

Frankton has been holding semi-regular fairs since July but spring-born lines contributed a larger percentage of the tally at the latest one.

The results have been somewhat of a mixed bag, not helped by a slow start to spring as well as the ever-present concerns over Mycoplasma bovis. Now, more than ever, home-bred cattle and those that can be easily traced back to their origin are more popular than those that can’t, and rightly so.

Taranaki kicked off its season with a smaller-than-usual yarding though it did feature more Friesian bulls, which typically aren’t sold in large quantities through the yards simply because they don’t sell as well as in the paddock. They averaged 110kg and $520, which was a fair level in line with Frankton at 105kg and $515. Rangiuru’s Friesian bull yarding was small but good weights pushed the average to 125kg and with a steady to firm market the average price finished at $525. 

The biggest and most prolific yarding of Friesian bulls though was at Feilding where they made up 70% of the fair last Thursday. There was no steady tone for this market either as prices pushed up by about $20 on last year and made a premium over other yards that offered much smaller selections. By the end of the fair the average weight was 110kg with an average price of $530. Beef-dairy bulls have typically averaged similar weights but sold at a $35-$45 premium over the Friesian bulls.  

Heifers usually take a back seat to the boys but this year they have had a good run. Averages at all the fairs covered by LivestockEye hovered around the $500 mark for average weights of 105-115kg. In past years it took a lot more weight to hit that level.