Yards are flat out and it feels like there will be no let-up this side of Christmas as high prices and a rapidly approaching summer keep the flow of stock coming. The hammer has fallen many times in rostrums with price differences for stock sold in the North Island to the South. North Island cattle usually make a premium while sheep are trading at similar levels, if not better, this year in the South.
Several factors influence prices – weather patterns, quality of stock, schedule prices and competition. The cattle markets are led by higher schedules in the North Island because of a bigger competition base, meaning bigger budgets to play with over the South.
However, if quality cattle are put up buyers will pay and that has been proved recently as 650 yearling traditional and exotic cattle at Canterbury Park gave their North Island brothers and sisters a run for their money, literally. At Stortford Lodge 350-410kg Charolais-cross steers sold for $3.72-$3.83/kg while at Canterbury Park 310-390kg varied from $3.65/kg to $3.86/kg. Angus heifers at the same sales followed a similar path as 325-395kg at Stortford Lodge fetched $3.21-$3.22/kg and at Canterbury Park 300-365kg made a premium of $3.30-$3.41/kg.
For dairy-beef cattle, though, it is a different story as greater supply and influencing factors result in a clear premium for North Island stock. Frankton is one of the stronger yards for dairy-beef and last week yearling steers averaged 320kg, $1030 at $3.24/kg while at Temuka an average of 285kg was accompanied with a lower price tag of $800 at $3/kg.
For the South Island the Mycoplasma bovis hangover continues and is still carries blamed for some cattle are selling at a premium to others. Stating farm origin is a key factor and while it appears M bovis concerns have subsided to some extent they are still very much bubbling away under the surface.