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Mixed results at ewe and ram sales

A ewes and rams auction recorded limited sales at the Masterton Saleyards auction yesterday.

PGG Wrightson Livestock lambs sold for an average price of $80.56 per head, with a minimum of $68 and a maximum of $85.50. Stud sheep rams sold for an average price of $305.56, where $250 per head was the low and $500 was the high. PGG’s sale quantity of ewes and rams totalled 275 and 90 store sheep did not sell.

PGG Wrightson sheep and beef representative Andrew [Elvis] Jennings said the good-condition heavy ewes “made good value”, but anything in the mixed-in-types struggled to sell.

“The better ewes were holding good body conditions north of 68-78kg had good demand,” he said.

“We struggled to get a home for those lighter ewes and off-types where the pen wasn’t as even, or they are bit mixed.”

Jennings said their ewes were a “bit sticky” because farmers typically buy in mid-January, and paddocks were already full.

Jennings remained optimistic, however, because lambs were in high demand and sold extremely well, making a premium, he said.

“Fetching probably $2.80-90 per kilo in the saleyards for shorn lambs.”

Because woolly lambs were discounted, agents from both stock firms were encouraging farmers to shear their lambs to help sales.

Overall, Jennings has observed the economic outlook starting to turn with “markets coming to play with buying product from the freezing works.”

“It’s flying onto the finishers having a bit of confidence with buying nationwide,” he said.

Jennings said New Zealand had experienced a big economic downturn since October, when China pulled out of the market.

“We have had quite deflated prices, and there has been a bit of adjustment; they are certainly well below expectations.

“But China is just starting to come into the market, so we are starting to see a little bit of a slow momentum building with demand for our stall lambs.

A Ministry of Primary Industries SOPI report said: “Meat and wool export revenue is forecast to decrease 5 percent to $11.6 billion in the year to 30 June 2024.”

“Key meat export prices are expected to fall due to weaker purchasing power and consumer confidence in key markets.”

“Lower export prices for beef, lamb, mutton, and wool are forecast to be partially offset by higher prices for pet food and venison.”

“Export volumes for lamb and mutton are forecast to increase in 2023/24 while beef volumes are forecast to decrease.”

“Sheep and beef farm profit before tax is forecast to fall 31 percent in 2023/24, following a 32 percent decline in 2022/23, due to lower revenue and higher input costs.”

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