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Lambing season looms

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

As lambing season looms, many Wairarapa farmers will be doing it tough because of recent deluges that have left the ground “absolutely saturated”, says a Wairarapa stock agent.

PGG Wrightson’s Brian Diamond said fattening old season lambs on wet ground could dampen lamb growth rates that could become a problem come selling in the current promising market.

Mr Diamond said most Wairarapa farmers won’t be lambing for at least another month.

But those on flat land have already seen their first few for the season.

“The storms we had last week have made everything uncomfortable, the grass shuts off,” he said.

“A lot of people are finding it pretty hard at the moment . . . the ground is absolutely saturated.

“I have talked to some farmers who say it is as wet as it has been in a long, long time.

“But it is winter and the last few years have been pretty good.”

Both Masterton and Martinborough have recorded very wet July’s, according to NIWA.

Te Ore Ore has recorded 154.8mm so far in July, which is above normal rainfall, and Martinborough has recorded 141.8mm.

Farm-gate lamb prices are still on the rise, according to AgriHQ’s schedules.

Last week’s latest North Island schedule shows farmgate lambs weighing 17.5kg are fetching $118.13 a head, up from $117.25 the previous week, and $95.38 at the same time last year.

Lambs weighing 19kg are fetching $128 a head, up from $127.30 the week before and $103.55 last year.

“The lamb prices are holding up well, but it’s a supply and demand thing and that’s a big factor,” Mr Diamond said.

Last month, prices were looking “pretty sweet”, so it is hard to tell what could happen leading up to November and December when the majority of new season lambs will be sold.

“There’s going to be a lot of lambs to hit the deck soon and there will be a huge supply of lambs.

“Let’s cross our fingers and hope everyone makes a dollar.”

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