Positive signs ahead of ewe fair

Favourable weather and strong meat prices mean there is plenty of optimism ahead of this month’s Hawarden ewe fair.

Stock agents are expecting a strong yarding of 18,000 ewes at the Hawarden saleyards on Friday, January 28.

But that number will not match the heights of two years ago when the sale was split over two days, PGG Wrightson livestock representative Kevin Rowe says.

‘‘We are expecting it will be a one-day sale which is much easier for everybody,’’ he said.

‘‘Feed-wise, things are very strong in Canterbury and the market returns are very good, which is what we need, so people can buy with a bit of confidence.’’

Hazlett Livestock auctioneer Allister Orchard said the sale had been boosted by capital stock from recent farm sales.

He expected some good prices would be paid, as the sale was underpinned by the high meat schedule.

‘‘There won’t be big numbers of two-tooths, with the meat schedule being so strong back in the spring, but we have some good lines of capital stock which will be sought after.

‘‘The good thing is, there’s good demand for good breeding ewes and we will have good numbers of them at the sale.

‘‘The sheep industry is in very good heart and the cattle sector is strong as well.’’

Mr Orchard said 18,000 was about the maximum number of the ewes the Hawarden saleyards could hold, so it would be a busy day.

About 1300 ewes were offered for sale last year, compared with the two-day sale in January 2020, when more than 18,000 mixed-age ewes and more than 8500 two-tooth ewes were offered in hot, dry and dusty conditions.

Last year’s top price was $234 for a line-up of two-tooth ewes, which were sold by Christophersen Ltd, of Hawarden.

That was well short of prices of more than $280 paid in recent years.

Last year’s lower ewe numbers were put down to uncertainty around Covid-19, farmers having plenty of feed and the fact no capital lines of stock were offered for sale.

This month’s sale will start at 11am. The ewes will be penned and available for inspection from 9am on the day of the sale.

The Hawarden ewe fair has been going for more than 100 years and is

the only ewe fair still running in North Canterbury.

The only other ewe fairs in Canterbury are south of the Waimakariri River.

The Temuka adult ewe fair will be held on Wednesday, February 2, and the Sheffield ewe fair is on Friday, February 11.


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