Monday, April 22, 2024

Lambs head out the farm gates

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Round of sales kicks off at Tautane Station, back in on-farm auctions after 20 years.
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As more lambs hit weaning weights, on-farm sales continue to add supply to the market, with buyers headed out to farms from Ocean Beach in Hawke’s Bay to Pigeon Bay on Banks Peninsula. 

These on-farm sales not only provide a good opportunity to buy large quantities of one ear-mark lines, but are also a chance for farmers to head out their own front gate and catch up in a social environment. 

The latest round of sales started in Herbertville at Tautane Station, where on-farm sales were reinstated after a 20-year hiatus. Approximately 7400 mainly South Dorset Down and Hampshire Down-Romney lambs were offered, as well as a smaller Romney cryptorchid section. 

The entire terminal lamb crop was offered and averaged $83 at an estimated $3.00-$3.10/kg liveweight. Top lambs headed to the processors and nearly 200 sold to Waikato and local, while the balance headed to the South Island. Results were better than expected. 

First time on-farm sale participant Taurapa Station, Hawke’s Bay, offered its entire draft of nearly 5200 Terminal-Romney lambs. The sale was very successful, and plans are in place to continue the on-farm sales next year. 

Hazlett agent Angus Hazlett said timely rain helped local demand.

“While we had outside buyers lined up, it was the local buyers who took the majority. They enjoyed coming out to the sale and buying on the property.”

Offered in seven lines varying from 290 head up to 1065 head, the top pen reached $131 while second cuts returned $74.50-$110 and third, $55-$66. Ewes with a one-year mouth made $83. 

A hot, dry, dusty day at the Te Whanga Station on-farm sale in Wairarapa was a sign of what’s to come and PGG Wrightson regional livestock manager Steve Wilkinson said everyone was pleased to tick the sale off.

“Everyone was happy to see the unit loads of lambs heading out the gates. We knew the sale results were not going to be anything outstanding and vendors were well-schooled on expectations, so the sale went as expected. The better lambs achieved higher cents per kilogram levels and there was a preference for the blackface terminal-cross lambs over the Romney cryptorchid.”

Most of the 5400 lambs sold to Manawatū with a top pen making $120, second cuts $90-$110 and most of the balance, $70-$76. Top lambs were estimated to make $2.90-$3.00/kg and other lines, $2.70-$2.75/kg.

New season lambs are slowly appearing at saleyards in the South Island, but one of the first substantial opportunities to secure a decent number of quality lambs is at the annual Annandale on-farm sale at Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula, now in its 18th year.

PGG Wrightson agent Stu Uren said buyers were treated to a top line-up.

“Offered up was the complete early lamb flock and it was a good test for the market. Weaning weights were up, which reflected the good growing season to date and a positive sign of summer weanings to follow, post Canterbury Show week.”

The 1900 Suftex-Romney lambs were weaned on sale day and drafted into cryptorchid and ewe lines.

“All the lambs sold to regular buyers. A unit load went to Southland and the rest stayed in Canterbury with most selling for around $3/kg. We were satisfied with the results, given the current schedule predictions,” Uren said. 

The prime lambs sold for $118-$120 and store types made $76-$98. 

This article was written by AgriHQ analyst Suz Bremner. Suz leads the AgriHQ LivestockEye team, including data collectors who are tasked with being on the ground at sale yards throughout the country. Subscribe to AgriHQ reports here.

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