Thursday, February 22, 2024

On-farm lamb sales get South Island hopping

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A good growing season brought a bigger supply of lambs, and they drew the crowds to farms on the mainland.
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With Canterbury show week over and done with for 2023, the South Island on-farm lamb sales are now in full swing. 

Following a good growing season, farms from Waipara to Pleasant Point presented an increased supply of lambs to the market. These on-farm sales have been met with plenty of interest, drawing crowds from all over the country. 

In such uncertain market conditions, returning buyers were able to boost demand through loyalty, acknowledging the quality of breeding and presentation of the lines. Overall, results exceeded expectations despite returns being down on last year. 

At Highfield on Monday November 20, just over 3000 good terminal sired lambs averaged $115. This was approximately $20 back on last year. Highfield is known for being good, early lambing country and this year it potentially had more feed than normal too. 

There were a larger number of forward lambs on offer and there was a small amount of North Island interest, which isn’t typical for the sale. However, most sold locally. 

At Glenmark Drive, approximately 10,000 well-farmed lambs sold, accompanied by around 1500 ewes. Although not officially weighed, agents reported lambs averaged $2.90-$3.00/kg. Most lambs sold to the central Canterbury region. 

Eskvale Station in Amberley sold a fantastic line-up of 3300 Suffolk, Dorset Down and Romdale mixed-sex lambs at its annual on-farm lamb sale on Tuesday, November 28. These lambs have a very good reputation for their shifting ability and growth rates, and the sale was well-supported by returning local buyers. The 3300 lambs averaged $106. 

Hazlett stock agent Alby Orchard gave credit to the owner for the quality of the yarding.

“Considering the late spring and limited growth, Ben Finney, owner of Eskvale Station, did a fantastic job of presenting this very good line of prime and store lambs,” he said.

The prime lambs ranged in price from $126 to $145 for blackface mixed-sex while the Romdale male lambs fetched $116-$139. Store blackface mixed-sex lambs made $70-$101 and the store Romdale male lambs returned $88-$71. 

At the Brothers Station on Pleasant Point, 2600 Suffolk-cross mixed-sex lambs and 300 Romney wether lambs were offered for sale. The sale, now in its sixth year, was a great success, PGG Wrightson agent Joe Higgins said.

“These were young, healthy lambs that went very well. These lambs drew a good crowd and were brisk all the way through,” he said.

Although not officially weighed, agents reported that the top two pens of prime lambs averaged $2.80-$3.00/kg while the store lambs were estimated to weigh 22-32kg and returned $2.85-$3.00/kg. Most of these lambs were blackface as the station retains the Romney lambs for breeding. 

After a hiatus in 2022, long-standing seller MB & GA Forrester in Waipara Gorge made a return to the on-farm sale scene this year. Buyers showed a lot of interest in the quality and genetics of the offering and the $100 average price was evidence of the good response to the sheep amid such challenging market dynamics. 

The top pen of prime lambs was Down-cross and fetched $149. The Longdown wethers returned $144. Longdown ewe lambs were purchased by a local farmer to be used for breeding, reflecting the great results and lasting impression of these genetics. 

It was a busy day on Wednesday, November 29 in Beautiful Valley. Three on-farm lamb sales took place in the area and all brought successful results for vendors. 

The day began at Rapuwai Farms Ltd, Hanging Rock, where 1800 mixed-sex lambs averaged $93. The prime lambs faced good interest from a large buying gallery and returned a range of $83-$131. 

RJ Horn presented 600 Romney cryptorchid lambs and over 300 Suffolk mixed-sex lambs. They averaged $82.50 and ranged from $73 to $112. 

HJB & SJ Sheed completed the day’s success, selling 1050 Suffolk-cross mixed-sex lambs at an average price of $88.50. Returns ranged from $70 to $130 on these well-bred prime and store lambs. 

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