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Stock mooved at latest Cow Fair

The Masterton Saleyards Cow Fair on Wednesday [April 24] had a complete clearance despite higher entries, although this could mean fewer cows in future auctions.

PGG Wrightson sheep and beef representative Andrew Jennings said this was due to large capital stock being auctioned.

The cows originated from three Wairarapa farms that have been converted into pine.

He said the 500 capital cows used to be kept on the farm for breeding and would result in fewer cows at the weaner fair next year.

“In effect, that is probably 350 weaners,” he said.

This will cause a flow-on effect that will bring “hurt” in one year to 24 months’ time.

“It was a strong sale, considering the negative impact on our agricultural community with cost structure.”

The fair had estimated entries from PGG Wrightson of 800 cows, including 600 mixed age [M/A] cows, 30 R4 Heifers, 93 R3 Heifers, and 30 M/A cows.

Jennings said the other entries were from Wairarapa farmers who wanted to destock because the drought had left them with no feed.

The calendared cow fair is normally held in mid-May, but it was brought forward by three weeks because Wairarapa is extremely dry, he said.

Farmers’ ideal conditions are warm days and rain with a soil temperature above 12 degrees “because once it gets below that, growth comes to a grinding halt”, he said.

“But we still need it to stay warm and get some follow-up rain to help lift feed covers because if we got cold and didn’t get any rain, we would probably be in quite a bad spot.

“It was certainly a relief about a week or so ago when we got the rain.”

PGG Wrightson’s top price – entered by McFadzean Cattle Co – was $1960 for its R3 Heifers, with an average of $1900.

Last year’s sales were “quite comparable”, with the McFadzean Cattle Co having sold the top heifers for $1970, with an average that was up from about $1800, Jennings said.

PGG’s line of very old mixed age sold for $750 as the minimum price.

Jennings said Little Tora Station had an “extremely strong line” of capital stock cows that made $1500 at the top of their mixed age.

“The stability in the cattle market has helped us have a very good cow sale, well supported by outside buyers.”

Four Wairarapa return buyers were chipping away at annual lines, and Hawkes Bay and Manawatu had a strong presence, bidding up on the bigger lines of the capital stock cows.

Jennings noted the auction was the first time a Masterton cattle fair has used the online virtual sale yard platform Bidr, which allows buyers and agents nationwide to follow a live sale feed and participate in bidding.

There were multiple viewers of the sale and farmers who bid on several different lines.

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