The build-up to the beef weaner fairs has begun and I can already feel the anticipation growing around the yards. They are among the highlights on the cattle calendar and set the scene for store cattle prices for the rest of the year.
They kick off at Rangiuru on Wednesday and PGG Wrightson area livestock manager Simon Rouse believes it is a matter of wait and see as far as the market goes. “We have had weaner fairs during dry conditions before and they have had good results. There are only so many available and annual buyers will be there to buy. They will have made allowances for feed to take the extra cattle on. It will be a case of first in, best dressed and most of the weaners will have some real weight in them this year.”
That was a common theme when speaking to agents from around the North Island and Will Maxwell from Redshaw Livestock said cattle born either side of the September storms have done well and that will be reflected in what we see coming forward, especially in the in-calf cows towards the end of the fairs. While he doesn’t expect any record prices to be broken, he did say “I’d like to see values that we’ve seen for the last couple of years”. Stortford Lodge has had a change in programme this year and will offer all steers, both traditional and exotic, at the Tuesday March 5 fair, followed by all bulls and heifers the next day.
Heading into Wairarapa and according to Steve Wilkinson, PGG Wrightson area livestock manager, vendors are generally happy with their weaners. He said some got a pinch in early spring but have caught up through summer and should post similar weights to those seen last year. As far as the market goes, Wilkinson believes the gold card would be rain in Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay, where a large percentage of the buyers come from. Prices are expected to be like last year and he doesn’t foresee any significant difference but time will tell. Masterton weaner fairs begin on Tuesday March 12.