While some yards ease into the new year in relative quiet there is no cruisey start for Te Kuiti with the year kicking off with cattle fairs every day of the week. The yard can lay claim to be the first cattle fair to kick off each year, with that week targeted as cattle are at their peak.
Older steers and bulls began the week, followed by three days of yearling steers and finishing with yearling heifers and bulls on Friday. Tallies accumulated to just shy of 5000 head and the 30 staff and stock agents working at the yards could have been forgiven for thinking it was Ground Hog Day. But each day ran like a well-oiled machine with close to and sometimes more than 1000 cattle yarded relatively seamlessly for a lunchtime start.
Like all sales so far this year the market was tested by falling schedules and drying conditions and New Zealand Farmers Livestock regional manager Alan Hiscox said while crowd sizes were not as large as usual vendors still went home reasonably happy. “Cents per kilogram levels were back on last year but, overall, the cattle were heavier and thus vendors still got well paid. King Country prior to January was enjoying great feed conditions but two weeks of very dry winds have had an effect on farmer confidence.”
Monday played host to bullocks and South Devon, 700-735kg, made $2.90/kg and Angus, 620-655kg, $3.05/kg. Beef-Friesian, 480-585kg, returned $2.80-$3/kg.
The first yearling steer day was for exotic cattle, and Charolais, in particular, were sought after. Hiscox reported they were some of the best cattle seen for years “Of the 110 pens offered weights were still over 400kg by pen 70 and prices were consistent at $3.15-$3.20/kg.” Angus and Angus-Hereford steers, 400-460kg, made $3.20-$3.40/kg on Wednesday with lighter lines at $3-$3.30/kg. Hereford-Friesian featured at the Thursday yearling steer fair and at 440-500kg made $2.78-$2.90/kg while lighter lines traded at $2.80-$3/kg.