Analyst Intel

1 August 2019

ACROSS THE RAILS | R2 Friesian bull market started at the top?

BySuz BremnerSuz Bremner

Two consignments of older Friesian bulls have kicked off the season and it appears market prices have started at the top end.

At Matawhero 365-402kg Friesian bulls made $2.97-$3.01/kg but at Feilding annual draft autumn-born bulls went one better. PGG Wrightson agent Phil Transom, representing a Feilding client, said they were very pleased with results though the prices were an accurate reflection of the selective buying as well as producing them to a high standard. “It is not just luck that sees these cattle command a premium. They were handpicked from the autumn weaner sales in Waikato then farmed for optimum performance until time of sale. Presentation is also key with the whole consignment a clean, even line of well-marked bulls with no horns. That is what brings regular buyers back in a bench that not only features fatteners but, given these bulls are good enough to be a two-way option, a few dairy farmers are also interested.” At 460-490kg the bulls outweighed some of the spring-born lines and sold for $3.05-$3.10/kg while a lighter line at 422kg reached $3.20/kg.

Those prices are expected to be at upper limit. Paddock prices in the North Island are $2.85-$3.10/kg compared to last year’s July average of $2.73-$2.78/kg and $3.05-$3.10/kg briefly for September. With schedules 15c/kg CW higher than last year there might still be some room to move on bull prices though they are unlikely to exceed those paid at Feilding. Feed supplies will also be taken into consideration and while the winter has been mild it has not provided much in the way of moisture for bull finishing regions, which could dampen demand.

Origin of cattle is more of a selling point now than it ever has been and is pivotal to their success, both in the paddock and in the rostrum. The lower the risk of Mycoplasma bovis the larger the buying bench and buyers are showing a clear preference for bulls born in the North Island. There is still a market for South Island bulls but it is more limited and in a lower price bracket because of the risk factor.