Analyst Intel

5 July 2019

ACROSS THE RAILS | Mild June brings spark to store cattle market

BySuz BremnerSuz Bremner

July has snuck up on us and while it is still very early days a little bit of life has sprung back into the store cattle market as a relatively mild June brings farmers closer to the promise of spring despite few regions having any significant rain till recently.

But, as the very cold temperatures and wet paddocks have been kept at bay, full use of supplementary feed and crops has given farmers a bit of breathing room. 

Like the grass, sales typically get a spring flush in August and sellers tend to target selling around that time. But promising outlooks and early improvements in store cattle markets have seen many choose to offload earlier. One of the reasons there has been a recent lift in competition was that buying through the autumn was thwarted because of low rainfall, meaning some delayed entering the market till recently. Sales on the western side of the North Island, such as Frankton and Taranaki, have been noted for both larger-than-usual entries for the time of year and improved markets.

Frankton was a good example as volume blossomed to 800 store cattle in the last week of June. That was, in part, driven by the end of the financial year but the attraction of a firming market noted over the weeks before made it an easy decision. The boost in volume attracted more outside buyers, making it a successful day at the office for vendors. That week the better quality R2 Hereford-Friesian steers sold at $3-$3.05/kg with the odd top line up to $3.25/kg. Top quality heifers of the same breed also reached $3-$3.01/kg. While last week’s market was more subdued as the best of the steers made $2.84-$2.95/kg and heifers, $2.80-$2.90/kg there is still promise of prices to come if those levels can be reached this early in the season. 

As is always the case, though, bidding at all yards is still selective and there are always those cattle that are attractive to a very limited audience. Horns on the dairy-beef lines, in particular, are a big issue and can be responsible for a big discount.