Conditions affect calf sales

North Canterbury calf sales have been sluggish as dry conditions affect farmer confidence.

Rural Livestock Canterbury livestock manager Donald Cooke and PGG Wrightson stock agent Kevin Rowe reported strong prices for steers, while lighter weight calves and heifers had been "hard work" to sell.

"They’re all finding a value and homes, but we’re having to work harder to do that," Mr Cooke said.

Steer calves have been selling for $3 to $3.20kg, but other stock have been nearer the $2 mark.

"North Canterbury has feed on hand, even if there’s not much grass on the ground," Mr Rowe said.

"I think we’ve been pretty lucky in North Canterbury, although we don’t like it to be this dry in the autumn."

Heifer calves were traditionally sold to farmers in Ellesmere and Banks Peninsula, but these were the driest areas in Canterbury.

Transport was also a headache, with fewer ferry crossings of Cook Strait, due to Covid-19 affecting transportation.

With bull sales due to start at the end of May, Mr Cooke was optimistic of a successful season.

The long term outlook was positive, despite the dry conditions, Covid-19 and issues of space at the freezing works and transport, he said.

"It’s a very hard one to predict, but I expect a strong bull sale season. Good genetics always bring a premium, but when we’re getting towards the end of the catalogue they might be a bit harder to sell.

 

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