Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sale yards battle through wild weather

The wild winter weather may be playing havoc with calving, but the cold and rain didn’t hurt the week’s early livestock sales and in one case even helped the market metrics.

The recent wild weather has provided plenty to talk about around the kitchen table in both rural and urban settings, yet most livestock sales have got by relatively unscathed. Those in the thick of the first blast of severe weather were the Tuesday events, but a quick whip around the country to see how they fared presented an uneventful start to the selling week. 

In Northland, the main Wellsford sale was held on Monday before the worst of the weather arrived, though PGG Wrightson regional manager Bernie McGahan reported very wet conditions underfoot: “This patch of wet weather has not been bad timing up here since there is not a lot happening. We did think that the weather conditions would impact the market a bit, but it didn’t. There is more rain coming but at least we are warm.”

At close to 19C on Monday, that contrasted with just 7C reported at the Canterbury Park sale.

Moving south to the Frankton sale yards, where, while the sound of heavy rain on the roof made it hard to hear the auctioneer, no negative impact on the market was noted.

The Canterbury Park sale was held in the thick of the wet weather and no one appreciated the covered yards more than those who were able to shelter beneath them for the sale. Outside, trucks sent surface water spraying as they arrived to unload but only a small number of consignments did not physically make it into the yards. However, a cancelled load of cattle due to the conditions sent one processor buyer to the yards to fill the gap and that had a positive impact on the market.

Earlier in the week, the lower South Island was in a calm patch while the rest of the country dealt with a scree of weather watches and warnings. The Lorneville sale was held in relative calm and PGG Wrightson regional manager Andrew Martin said that a drop in volume was simply a reflection of the time of year. “The sale certainly wasn’t adversely affected by weather, but it is supposed to get worse later today [Tuesday]. This was the first week where numbers notably dropped to a moderate sized yarding but that is very typical in winter,” said Martin. 

However, even though little impact has been felt at the yards, which are currently in winter mode, the same cannot be said for those farmers who are either calving or early lambing. Bay of Plenty Carrfields livestock representative Richard Baird said it was extremely wet and no one was particularly happy.

“A lot of the farmers around here are now calving and the timing could not be worse, especially with a second round to come,” said Baird.

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