New season lambs are slow coming forward at South Island sale yards but much to buyers’ relief the on-farm sales have begun and are very well-supported.
Last Wednesday, the 14th annual Annandale Lamb Sale was held in Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula, and featured 1900 Sufftex-Romney lambs (Sufftex rams over Romney ewes). The season has meant lambs nationwide are a few weeks behind last year because of the higher survivability of mainly multiples but also the lack of heat has meant growth rates have been slower. Despite that prices at Annandale were well up, with this year’s sale average at $124 compared to $112 for 2018.
PGG Wrightson agent Stu Uren said that with so few lambs available a good bench of buyers took the chance to try and secure early bulk numbers and that meant competition was strong. Many were return buyers and Mid Cantabrians, in particular, were strong, though a regular buyer from Southland also took a unit load. The store lambs sold for $89-$156 while a pen of 87 prime types reached $168.
The Sinai on-farm sale at Oxford on Thursday had 3600 lambs and 1400 ewes. The lambs were well-bred Dorset Down-cross and Merino-Dorset Down while the ewes were crossbred or Merino. The buying bench had a very similar feel to the previous day’s event with two from Southland but the competition was led by Mid and North Canterbury buyers. Results were around $10 up on 2018 with lambs trading at $94-$186 for an average of $130 while the cull ewes averaged $188. Rural Livestock agent Aaron Leckie said the vendor was very happy with the results, with a full clearance achieved. A second on-farm sale will be held on November 27 to accommodate the later-born lambs and with extra vendors offering up stock that tally is expected to sit at 8000 lambs and 2000 ewes.