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Raising the ‘baaa’

PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

Record lamb prices at auction

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
[email protected]

It seems to be the year of the lamb, Wairarapa livestock agents say, after store lambs sold for record prices at auction on Wednesday.

Store lambs require finishing before being sent off to the works.

About 5000 lambs were on offer at the Masterton sale yards and more than 5500 lambs were sold at an on-farm auction at Gladstone’s Te Whanga Station.

PGG Wrightson Wairarapa area livestock manager Steve Wilkinson said they fetched record prices.

The highest price was set at $174 for a line of 323 Romney cryptorchid lambs [about $56,000 in total].

All the successful buyers at the auction came from outside the region, travelling from Rotorua, Manawatu, and even the South Island to attend.

“The local buyers all got blown out by them,” he said.

Wilkinson said confidence in the meat industry had increased buyers’ confidence, and they were happy to pay top dollar for the store lambs.

“They were an exceptionally well-presented line of lambs,” he said of the Te Whanga lambs on offer.

The strong sale exceeded the expectations of both PGG Wrightson senior livestock agent Elvis Jennings and Te Whanga manager Jason Coffey.

Coffey, who has been manager at the property since early last year, was happy with the prices.

“It’s a pretty enjoyable time to be farming – especially with lambs,” he said.

Jennings agreed, saying it was the “year of the lamb”.

“That’s the top price we’ve seen in Wairarapa, maybe even in New Zealand,” he said.

Lamb prices have increased dramatically since 2016.

Figures from Beef and Lamb New Zealand show them rising from about $90 per head [all grades] in 2016 to $130 last year.

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