Analyst Intel

1 April 2021

ACROSS THE RAILS | Rain, draft cattle draw crowds

By Suz Bremner

Rain boosted the atmosphere at North Island weaner fairs and brought out the buyers to some big events. The rain had a notable impact on the heifer market as they exceeded expectations at some fairs, while big volumes of annual draft cattle featured at Matawhero and Masterton, and drew in a large contingent of regular buyers from outside the regions. That was repeated at Temuka for the 92nd annual Glen Lyon and Huxley Gorge calf sale, where over half the yarding were Hereford steers.

Cheviot North calf sale

The north edition of the Cheviot calf sale followed the south on Friday, March 26, and 690 calves were yarded. The ratio of steers to heifers was 380:300, and Angus and Angus-Hereford dominated both sections. Top steers firmed on the south prices as 230-310kg Angus sold for $705-$990, $3.10-$3.22/kg, though medium lines held as they also traded in that per kilogram range. Angus-Hereford, 200-260kg, sold for $615-$820, $3.04-$3.21/kg. The heifer market held as 195-283kg sold for $490-$690, but 230-250kg lines made a premium at $2.70/kg and the balance traded at $2.40-$2.57/kg. Angus-Hereford and Hereford, 170-265kg, returned $510-$670 to also sell in the $2.47-$2.53/kg range. Lighter lines were harder to shift.

Martinborough and Masterton Weaner Fair

After missing out due to lockdown in 2020, the market at the Martinborough and Masterton two-day weaner fair was positive, and values were strong. Calves totalled 2300 over the two days, and steers and bulls featured last Monday. Top Angus steers achieved $950-$1000, with medium types $700-$800, and light mostly $640-$690. Bulls were mostly Angus, which earned $720, with the balance $460-$515. Rain overnight was well-timed for the heifers turn last Tuesday. Hereford heifers met strong competition and sold to $900, with capital stock Angus at $815. The next cut realised $610-$730, with lighter and recently weaned-types $400-$525. 

Matawhero weaner fairs

High volume for the Matawhero weaner fair meant two days were required. 

Day one offered up 1900 steers and 400 bulls. For the most part 205-270kg traditional steers sold for $3.30-$3.60/kg, though the odd smaller line was a little weaker. Large tally 150-200kg lines of steers that were straight-Angus, or near to it, made $3.45-$3.65/kg, with other traditional types at $3.10-$3.30/kg. Good exotic steers, 200-280kg, all made $3.30-$3.45/kg. On a per head basis, top steers made $750-$950 and the balance $530-$700. Big lines of 240-275kg Angus bulls were $785-$875, $3.10-$3.25/kg, with a few 200-250kg Hereford lines at $3.45-$3.60/kg. Almost a thousand heifers were offered on day two last Wednesday. Three especially large pens of 205-220kg Angus heifers traded at $655-$690, $3.15-$3.25/kg, while other 140-210kg Angus earned $415-$570, $2.70-$2.95/kg. Charolais-cross heifers, 165-265kg, all sold for $422-$690, $2.55-$2.75/kg, whereas other mixed exotics centred on $2.30/kg at all weights. Other beef heifers were usually in the $2.10-$2.40/kg range.

92nd annual Glen Lyon & Huxley Gorge calf sale

The Glen Lyon & Huxley Gorge section started off the calf-selling season last Wednesday at Temuka, and a loyal following of buyers attended. The calves were all off hill country and had been weaned a week. Angus-Hereford steers pushed to $570-$860, while Hereford sold from $400 to $780. Just two pens of Angus steers were offered and fetched $620 and $740. Hereford heifers consistently sold for $530-$680 while Angus-Hereford ranged from $430-$610 and two pens of Angus $520 and $555. 

Balclutha first calf sale

There were around 900 calves at Balclutha’s first calf sale on Thursday. Buyers were mostly from Southland and South Otago, though some heifers headed north. Top exotic steers fetched $1000 with better Angus, and Angus-cross around $800. Steers traded around the $2.80/kg to $3.00/kg mark with heifers $2.20/kg to $2.50/kg.