Friday, April 12, 2024

Reduced yarding at Dannevirke yields strong results

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Demand did its bit on a day when the supply side battled plentiful pastures and the popularity of on-farm sales.
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It was a beautiful day at the Dannevirke 15-month cattle fair on February 15, a stark contrast to the month before when a repeat of overcast conditions had made it seem like this was the new normal.

A small gallery of buyers was watching and enjoying the sunshine. Potential buyers watched intently from below the catwalk as the auctioneers from PGG Wrightson Livestock sang the praises of the well-presented lines of mostly Angus and Angus-Hereford steers.  

There was a further reduction in the number of traditional steers available at the Dannevirke fair. 

Last year, numbers had dropped dramatically from 1100 to just 423 as one main vendor called time on trading steers. 

This year’s sale confirmed the trend of a decreasing supply as only 296 traditional steers were yarded, along with 53 15-month Angus and Angus-Hereford heifers. 

An increase in the popularity of on-farm sales, policy changes and good amounts of feed have been supporting the reduction in throughput.

Most of the pens went one of two ways between a small handful of bidders from Manawatū and Hawke’s Bay. 

The lack of buyers took away some of the expected competition on good pens that could have possibly pushed prices upward further. However, buyer power was strong enough to meet the asking price and provide satisfactory returns to sellers. 

Most of the cattle on offer were homebred from Pahiatua, Pongoroa and Weber, and sold very much in line with the most recent sale at Stortford Lodge.

PGG Wrightson agent Bjorn Anderson was happy with the results of the sale and optimistic about the outlook of the store cattle market. 

However, in just a week of hot and dry weather, the noticeable decline of grass growth was now front and centre in his mind. 

“Not a lot had been happening, which is unusual for this time of year. But now all of a sudden trading has picked up in pace and both cattle and sheep are on the move in much higher volumes. 

“I have a lot of clients starting to think about what’s next for them if things continue to dry up at this rate.”  

With no scales present at the Dannevirke saleyards, buyers did their best to bid per-head prices according to how they interpreted weight. 

There was a noticeable and consistently high standard of condition across all pens, without too much deviation from the expected market value in returns. 

Most of the cattle on offer were homebred from Pahiatua, Pongoroa and Weber, and sold very much in line with the most recent sale at Stortford Lodge.

The heavier lines were estimated to be 460-480kg and according to these estimated weights they made approximately $3.21-$3.27/kg. This is a few cents per kilogram back on last year’s result, caused mainly by a lack of competition between bidders. 

Lighter pens of steers, estimated at 345-420kg, were estimated to return $3.55-$3.62/kg. On a per-head basis, the strength of the market was evident as most cattle made $1305-$1540, which was similar to last year’s results. 

The heifers were a bit harder going but were good buying at $1050-$1250.

This article was written by AgriHQ analyst Alex Coddington. Subscribe to AgriHQ reports here.

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