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Farmers visiting Alliance Group’s tent at the Southern Field Days had mostly one burning question — how long could lamb prices be sustained.
And the response? "We feel market fundamentals around the world give us some confidence," chairman Murray Taggart said.
The North Canterbury farmer acknowledged that his position was a "bit easier" than what it was when he first took on the role.
The mood among farmers was "pretty positive" and, despite climatic conditions, he was "really chuffed" with market prices.
"You’ve done a bloody good job," a long-time shareholder told Mr Taggart on the way past, but Mr Taggart said the company was not resting on its laurels.
There was still a lot of work to do and a lot of opportunities to improve the business. It was not about one person, he stressed; it was a team effort and that team was getting stronger all the time.
"We’re building some real depth of capability in the business. It’s quite exciting," he said.
At Silver Fern Farms, chairman Rob Hewett said the meat industry was having one of its quieter years so far.
Recent rain was welcomed by those dealing with dry conditions, although more would still be good. Plants have slowed down and it was a lot quieter than December.
It was somewhat ironic that a lot of store stock was heading to North Canterbury, Mr Hewett said.
Store stock prices were good and that was something that had kept farmers "out of the fire" in the South, he said.
PGG Wrightson Wool business development manager Craig Smith recently returned from ISPO, the world’s largest sports trade fair, in Germany, and was buoyed by the interest in wool.
The number of brands looking at wool garments and products was very positive. Patagonia was back in the wool space and won a gold award for a hoodie that was produced from New Zealand wool.
The opportunities for fine wool at the moment were "amazing", hence the 34-year high for merino prices.
Those prices had not hit retailers yet, so it would be interesting to see what happened there. Hopefully, the success of fine wool would also bring up crossbred prices.
People were looking at wool in general, as they were looking at what they could do to make their brands more sustainable, whether that was the likes of upholstery, carpet or insulation.
Some of the world’s big sports brands were now doing wool shoes, including adidas and Nike, as well as Allbirds, which was founded by former All Whites captain Tim Brown.