Thursday, April 25, 2024

Spring bull sales begin cautiously

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Spring bull sales have spluttered into life with social distancing, face masks and online bidding, as part of covid control levels throughout the country. While Level 4 may have ended in all rural areas, inter-regional travel remains difficult and many vendors have included online websites in their marketing.
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Spring bull sales have spluttered into life with social distancing, face masks and online bidding, as part of covid control levels throughout the country.

While Level 4 may have ended in all rural areas, inter-regional travel remains difficult and many vendors have included online websites in their marketing.

Bull breeders have yet to see if current very high prices for store cattle and for beef schedules are reflected in demand and values for their offerings.

The majority of the target market for the spring sales are dairy farmers wanting yearling bulls for their upcoming cow mating season.

If the bulls are turned out after cows have all been through AI to dairy semen, then calving ease and low birth weight are top of the priorities, with or without strong colour marking.

Sales figures from past seasons and tallies of the bull catalogues already posted online show that more Hereford bulls are offered and sold as yearlings than two-year-olds, perhaps twice as many.

NZ Herefords general manager Posy Moody says breeders are supplying for the whiteface dairy-beef preference among dairy farmers who want readily identifiable, good temperament, fast-growing, saleable cattle.

The dairy beef index now published in the breeding values of Herefords provides easy comparisons between bulls offered.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Merit Dairy Sires are registered Hereford bulls that must have a maximum of +1.6kg for birthweight (in top 10% for bull calf drop), top 20% for the dairy maternal index and top 60% for 400 day growth rate.

Angus NZ has the heifer/dairy terminal (HDT) index, with emphasis on calving ease, growth rates and low birth weight in appropriate genetics for dairy farmers to choose.

AngusPure is also emphasising the source and trace system for steers and heifers sired by registered bulls that can sell for premium prices when finished for slaughter.

Dairy Beef Progeny Test results for bulls of more than 12 breeds have also been published by Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

The test generates the information dairy farmers need to make informed decisions about the non-replacement genetics they choose to use over their cows.

“We entered into partnership with LIC (which helps fund the test) a couple of years ago to ensure that dairy farmers have access to the best bulls coming through the progeny test,” general manager Dan Brier said.

The aim of the programme is to improve the quality of dairy beef, generate more value along the supply chain and reduce calf wastage in the dairy industry.

The first Hereford bull sale of the spring was Bidr-only because of level 4 and the Waimarie and Otengi studs near Kaeo, Northland, sold 26 of 35 lots for an average of $3007.

NZ Hereford’s Philip Shepherd says the top price was $4900 for yearling Waimarie Bismark 15 and $3900 was paid by the same Northland dairy farmer for Otengi Echuca 21.

Bismark 15 is one of this season’s intake (born 2020) to the Merit Dairy Sires listing.

“I am happy with the sale results considering the circumstances, although the average was back a bit on last year,” Shepherd said.

All buyers were from Northland, despite the September 2 online happening, except for two yearling stud bulls that went outside the province.

Purchasers sent their transport companies to collect the bulls, most of whom have moved already.

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