If this sale is a sign of what is to come, we are in for a very difficult period if no rain is forthcoming.
Last week's lamb market did seem unrealistically strong even at the time and made this week's fall even more noticeable.
Over 18,000 lambs were consigned, many from regions that have not had rain for some weeks, but the problem is that potential buyers are also now facing the prospect of dry conditions and crops have not germinated let alone grow.
A couple of pens sold well at the start of the sale - Rorokoko, Masterton, sold 284 mixed-sex, blackface lambs for $115 after some fierce bidding, with Roger Woodruffe, Sanson, selling 131 for $101 and Brent Williamson, Waituna West, selling 157 cryptorchids for $100.50 being the only other lambs over $100/head. The heavier lambs dropped by around 10 cents/kg but the medium and lighter lambs, which made up the bulk of the yarding were down by up to $20/head in many cases. Lots of pens were passed in at auction and many pens did not receive a single bid which will make it hard to find them a home.
The problem will not improve without some significant and well-spread rain so next week's sale will be vulnerable too with this size of entry.
The sale began with 420 ewes with lambs at foot and almost all of them were ewes that had lambed as hoggets and consequently were very small and sold accordingly.
The dry conditions also impacted on the cattle market although, to be fair, there was not the quality offered in the two year old steer section this week.
Tony Brown, Kimbolton, has been offering good quality traditional steers over recent weeks and sold his top 26 Angus and Angus/Hereford cross steers this week for $1775 ($3.03) which is 10 cents/kg below last week's entry. This could be regarded as a typical fall for steers with the yearling steers dropping a similar amount roughly. 11 forward Angus yearling steers from JJ Farms, Cheltenham, sold for $1420 ($2.93) and most of the heavier yearling steers could not broach $3/kg on today's market, regardless of whether they were traditional steers or exotics. The dairy crosses were more affected reflecting their less hardy nature, as well, on a yearling steer yarding of very nearly 1200 head.
The bull yarding did offer many good, well-marked Friesian bulls but was similarly afflicted in this market.
J & K Love Partnership, Palmerston North, sold 13 two year Friesian bulls for $1690 ($3.02) as a highlight. In the yearling bulls, the Olsen Family Trust, Palmerston North,, sold 20 Friesians for $1140 ($2.65) and Pennar, Hunterville, sold 23 Friesians also for $1140 ($2.61) but these, too, were highlights on a tough day.
Life wasn't any better for the heifers. Most of the two year old heifers were traditionally bred with cents/kg down across the board. The range was greater in the yearling heifer section but some of them would have been footsore by the time they reached their new (or returned to their old) home as they were late in the day again. Heifers presented reasonably well in comparison with other sections and the yearlings had a good proportion of Hereford/Friesians again. This section eased in line with the others. 20 useful Angus yearling heifers from Trotter Farms, Waikanae, sold for $1100 ($2.71) but only one pen of yearling heifers sold for more than $3/kg.
We are one day closer to rain!!
Sheep (19,424): ewes (427) with LAF (435), $41-$56; ewes (577), $66-$120; lambs (17,985); 31-38kg, $55-$115, $1.78-$3.24, ease; 26-30kg, $47.50-$88.50, $1.82-$2.98, ease; 18-25kg, $36.50-$60, $1.93-$2.55, ease.
Cattle (2,182): steers; 2yr (180), 320-585kg, $800-$1775, $2.50-$3.04, ease; 1yr (1179), 287-484kg, $700-$1420, $2.40-$3.37, ease; bulls; 2yr (66), 466-559kg, $1070-$1690, $2.30-$3.02, ease; 1yr (377), 283-437kg, $730-$1140, $2.39-$3.04, ease; heifers; 2yr (103), 381-473kg, $1040-$1240, $2.57-$2.74, ease; 1yr (269), 256-415kg, $630-$1110, $2.46-$3.06, ease.