Analyst Intel

8 January 2021

ACROSS THE RAILS | Strong sales across the board

By Suz Bremner

The on-farm selling scene may have quietened down over the Christmas break and into the start of the new year, but that doesn’t mean that the sales held the first week back were any less significant. In fact, for the North Island sale was quite the opposite, as the Puketoro Station sale on the East Coast is a big event written on many calendars. Opawa Downs in South Canterbury also held their annual sale, and with both having reputations that preceded them, they drew in good crowds of buyers.

At Puketoro Station, buyers from Hawke’s Bay, Taupo, Manawatu and locals were in attendance for the fifth annual event. The McNeil family offered up 609 15-month traditional steers, 1960 Romdale cryptorchid lambs and 7360 ewes, which were sold by Shane Scott from Central Livestock and Neville Clarke. The ewes were split between capital stock Coopdale from the Mahanga property at Tikitiki and Romdale ewes from Puketoro. The early slot for the sale meant that mainly only buyers were in attendance.

“With the sale falling on the first working day of 2021, only those who came to buy made the journey inland from Tokomaru Bay,” Scott said.

“Forty prospective buyers registered, and locals joined them on the rails to take in the action and enjoy some top-notch hospitality provided by the McNeil family. “Overall, the results from the sale were satisfactory, especially given some of the East Coast region has missed out on rain since early December with feed not optimal for young stock.”

The top line of Romdale two-tooths sold to Gisborne for $210 and top Coopdale of the same age headed to Hawke’s Bay for $213. The remaining Coopdale two-tooth and most of the four-tooths were Manawatu-bound at $174-$197. Six-tooth and four-year Coopdale made $183-$191, and wet-dry Romdale of the same age returned $165-$188. Five-year Perendale fetched $163-$175, and the balance of the ewes stayed local or headed to Hawke’s Bay. Regular buyers bought the top two lines of lambs which equated to nearly 1000 head and made $82.50-$96, but the balance failed to meet expectations, Scott said.

The mainly Angus steers were drafted into five lines and ranged in tallies from 40-head up to 231. The smaller lines sold within the yards, while in true high-country fashion, shepherds on horseback held the larger lines close to buyers for viewing. Angus, 415kg average, fetched $1310, $3.16/kg and Angus-Hereford, 385kg average, returned $1185, $3.08/kg. Those that fell in a 350-390kg range sold for $1158-$1200, $3.13-$3.24/kg and 320-350kg, $1070-$1100, $3.19-$3.28/kg. Most were on trucks headed south to Hawke’s Bay and the smaller lines went to Taupo.

Much further south, Opawa Downs in Albury, South Canterbury, held court on Wednesday as the annual sale offered up nearly 5000 lambs and ewes.

A record number of buyers attended the sale and PGG Wrightson regional manager Joe Higgins said that a grass market emerged “after good rain over the break there is now more feed around than I can remember for the time of year, and that led to a competitive market at Opawa Downs. Prices were around 20c/kg up on pre-Christmas levels and bidding was brisk, especially for lighter lambs.” 

Buyers mainly came from South Canterbury, but found competition from Christchurch and Wanaka. Blackface mixed-sex lambs sold undrafted at the Riverview yards. The top cut of 37 reached $159 and 160 in the second cut made $140. The balance sold from $63 up to $126. Romney lambs with Motonui bloodlines were sex drafted and the top ewe lambs retained, while good cryptorchid fetched $96-$110, and the balance $70-$89. Two pens of ewe lambs made $64-$86. The ewes offered were all crossbred and cast-for-age and solid demand meant the top pens reached $130 and second cuts, $116.