Two months of two-year-old beef bull sales have ended with average prices around $500 lower than last year for nearly all breeds in both North and South Islands.
Clearance rates were good as commercial beef farmers obtained the bulls they need, stud stock auctioneers say.
“The clearance rate was right up with past years, around 85% overall, despite the reduction in national beef cow numbers due to farm conversions to forestry,” PGG Wrightson national genetics manager Callum Stewart said.
For the delayed East Coast Angus week of sales, fewer than 10 bulls were passed and commercial farmers had plenty of choice, Carrfields auctioneer Neville Clark said.
The sale delay delivered five fine days in a row, to help with bull presentation and vehicle parking, before Gisborne went back to unwelcome rain.
“The money paid versus the bull quality on offer was right up there with recent years.”
The $500 reduction in averages across the board was a good outcome for all vendors considering the uncertainties surrounding beef farming, Clark said.
“Regardless of what is happening in farming, people realise that investment in good genetics brings good returns,” Stewart said.
“Support for the eastern North Island sales after Cyclone Gabrielle was particularly pleasing.
“Those studs showed great resilience and the money earned goes around in the regional economy.”
Now that attention switches to yearling bull sales, mainly for serving dairy cows in the spring, price prospects will include the new Fonterra bobby calf policy and the ability of farmers to rear calves.
AgriHQ analysis shows that Charolais bulls in the South Island achieved $9729 average compared with $8319 last year, due to the top price of $65,000 made by Silverstream and its own sale average of $11,768.
For all other breeds, in both islands, the overall averages were $500 to $1000 down.
Angus bulls in the south averaged $9437 (compared with $9895 last year) and Stern Angus at Pleasant Point topped the whole sale season nationally with $98,000 paid by Oregon Angus, Wairarapa, for Stern 21521.
Stern Angus also registered the second-highest price of the season, with $85,000 paid by Black Ridge, Taumarunui for Stern 21602.
Further north, Turihaua Angus, the oldest Angus stud in Australasia, achieved the highest price on the East Coast, which was $72,000 paid by Tangihau Angus.
The breed average for the North Island was $9128, compared with $9684 last year.
For Herefords, the North Island sales averaged $7901 compared with $7722 and the top was $42,000 achieved by Koanui Hereford, Havelock North.
In the South Island the highest price was $28,000 made by Glacier Herefords in South Westland for their last stud sale. The breed average in the south was $7347 compared with $8267.
Simmentals in the north averaged $7327 ($8300) and in the south averaged $6590 ($7385). The highest prices, respectively, were $18,000 for Kerrah and $21,000 for Opawa.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the average price for Simmentals in the north was $7300.