Wednesday, April 24, 2024

How much am I bid for these rams?

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Sheep breeders are eagerly awaiting the fall of the hammer on their sale rams this summer, to see if record meat and sale yard prices boost ram demand and values.
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PGG Wrightson stud stock auctioneer Cam Heggie says he was receiving a greater number of calls from intending ram buyers this year.

Sheep breeders are eagerly awaiting the fall of the hammer on their sale rams this summer, to see if record meat and sale yard prices boost ram demand and values.

In recent weeks some pens of ewes have made over $400 a head, last season’s lambs $300 and schedule prices have neared $10/kg CW.

“Never before in my lifetime have I seen prices like these, so we should expect that rams will be worth good money,” New Zealand Sheepbreeders Association (NZSBA) president Tom Burrows said.

A Corriedale breeder from North Canterbury, he says good numbers of his breed would be at the one-day, exhibitors-only sheep showing at Canterbury Park on Friday, November 12.

“The breeders who have talked to me are hanging on through all the hard work and show disruption to have a day out and talk sheep,” he said.

On the other hand, entries were down for the Canterbury A&P Elite Ram and Ewe Fair on November 26, which may help to increase auction prices.

NZSBA covers 35 breeds, 600 society members and 80,000 registered sheep.

With new breed societies joining regularly, commercial sheep farmers are spoiled for choice of terminal breeds, maternal breeds, fine and medium wool types, milking sheep and self-shedding types.

The self-shedding Wiltshires will feature in a run of six sales in the King Country during the rest of November.

PGG Wrightson stud stock auctioneer Cam Heggie says he was receiving a greater number of calls from intending ram buyers this year, to prearrange purchasing and partly because of authorisation letters needed to get through covid zone boundaries.

“Terminal rams should sell very well and you would like to think that these extraordinary meat prices will feed into higher-values for rams,” Heggie said.

“This is the time for commercial sheep farmers to make investments into better genetics.”

Heggie spoke ahead of his first calls for the ram selling season – at Waimai Romney, Te Akau, followed by Nikau Coopworths at Frankton.

Nikau had to reposition its sale from Tuakau because of travel restrictions to Friday, November 5.

With his eyes on those first northerly sales, Carrfields stud stock agent Callum Dunnett, Canterbury, says the Ellesmere and Ashburton A&P societies held successful exhibitor-only sheep shows.

“The Canterbury Park event will give breeders opportunities to look around and pick out some prospects,” Dunnett said.

“Most of our ram breeders will have an online presence for their sales and there is not too much disruption.

“The outlook for sheepmeat is extremely positive and the demand for the top-quality rams will be strong.

“We don’t know if that will persist right through the catalogue, so numbers sold might be back a bit, due to falling ewe numbers.”

NZSBA general manager Greg Burgess says some breeds were organising show days in place of the A&P shows that had been cancelled.

“Reluctantly we have had to postpone our 125th celebration of the association for the second year running,” Burgess said.

“That was going to be the highlight of the Christchurch Show, with breed displays, meat and wool exhibits and a grand dinner in the president’s marquee.”

He says the prospects of very high sheepmeat prices flowing on to higher ram prices were in every breeder’s mind.

“Wouldn’t that be good – we are all looking for a positive ram selling season,” he said.

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