Lay of the land

Buyers flocked to the Maniototo Last Muster Lamb Sale at Waipiata Saleyards last week. PHOTOS:...
Buyers flocked to the Maniototo Last Muster Lamb Sale at Waipiata Saleyards last week. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE
About 18,000 forward and store lambs were on offer at the Maniototo Last Muster Sale at Waipiata Saleyards last week. Shawn McAvinue asked sheep and beef farmers at the sale how autumn had been treating them and how their preparations for winter were tracking.

Paul O’Malley, of Paerau ... "Anywhere with irrigation is good but dryland is battling but it’s still warm, when history shows this time of year can be quite cold. It was 4degC last night and afternoons aren’t too bad so things are still moving. We were lucky, our winter feed got off to a good start and we made plenty of silage. If it stays warm we will be all right, if it turns ... [bad], it’ll be interesting but we are doing a lot better than some people down South, the poor bastards, I feel sorry for them."

Kieran O’Neill, of Ranfurly ... "It’s been quite good but it’s been hard to get lambs to the works so we've had extra lambs on the place for longer than usual, which has made things a lot tighter. Our feed situation is OK at this stage. It’s been very mild but it won’t take long for the frosts to come in to slow things down very quickly. The winter crops are not fantastic but they are there and they’ll get us through."

Mark Paterson, of Gimmerburn ... "We had a good early autumn and things have started to dry out the last six weeks. Winter is shaping up well. The winter feed crops have come away really well and there’s still plenty of grass saved up. We are going to get through — the crops, swedes and rape and that kind of thing, are the best we’ve ever had. It’s been a good season all round."

Johnny Hore, of Kyeburn ... "Preparations for winter are good. We’ve got winter feed in hand and the crops have come away good and our silage and baleage quantities are good. It’s been a dry autumn but it’s no worse than any other year — it’s typical Central Otago."

Mike Fridd, of Ida Valley ... "We were pretty good and then we got rain early on and it’s come away again — we are sitting pretty good. The winter crops are looking quite good. All our overflow lambs are in this sale and we will only go into winter with our capital stock."

John McMillan, of Gimmerburn ... "We are only getting away 150 lambs to the works so we are well behind there. We’ve got the ram out and we don’t have as much feed as we would normally have at this time of year. We’ve got 1000 more lambs than we would normally have because we can’t get them to the works. Not being able to get lambs killed is putting on the pressure. We are OK, we are nothing like Southland, we’ve got a bit of water, we’ll get through. The difference between us and Southland is we’ve been set up for droughts for generations, things like supplements and all the lucerne. We are conditioned to drought — so it’s business as normal for us. If the works were killing at capacity, we’d be fine."

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