Dry conditions biting

Farm owner Cassie Becker and block manager Hamish Wade in a pen of halfbred wether lambs at their...
Farm owner Cassie Becker and block manager Hamish Wade in a pen of halfbred wether lambs at their annual sale near Kyeburn last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Every lamb sold at auctions on a Maniototo farm, yet the revenue made from them is lower than a forecast figure in the farm’s budget, a manager says.

Maniototo family farm business DJ Andrew & Co offered about 4200 halfbred lambs at its 12th annual sale on its block between Kyeburn and Kokonga on State Highway 87 last week.

Carrfields agent Tony Arscott, of Wanaka, said all of the lambs sold.

Prices ranged between $55 and $85.

Most of the lambs were bought by Canterbury cropping farmers, Mr Arscott said.

Block manager Hamish Wade said the prices fetched were lower than what was in the budget.

"It could have been worse. The lambs are looking pretty good for basically being in a drought."

No significant rain had fallen on the farm since mid December.

For the first time, two lamb sales were held on the farm this year.

About 4000 blackface terminal lambs were offered on February 22, Mr Wade said.

"They all sold. We averaged about $85."

The prices were down on last year but were "not terrible" considering the season, he said.

Usually the half-breed and blackface lambs were offered at the same sale.

The decision to split the lambs for sale was to meet the market, Mr Wade said.

Prices at the sales were down on last year because the sheep schedule had fallen and dry conditions were biting, he said.

The company runs deer, sheep and beef over about 4500ha across several blocks in the district.

Some of the block he manages has irrigation but water restrictions were introduced in mid-December.

"We’ve basically had no water since the start of January but that is part and parcel of it, you’ve got to farm to your conditions."

Farm owner Cassie Becker, of Hyde, said farming in the Maniototo requires a contingency plan for dry conditions.

"When it is raining and you’ve got lots of green grass the world’s your oyster but when its dry, your choices are made for you."