Lambs in demand and fetching good prices
Recent rain has given many farmers the confidence to sell stock, with the Feilding saleyards full and more than 26,000 lambs sold yesterday.
There were so many sheep, trucks were still off-loading lambs after the sale had started.
It was a major stock sale, with many lambs sold to Hawke's Bay buyers, stock agents said.
Big yardings of lambs came from the hill country around Taihape and Whanganui.
Feilding Wrightson agent Tim Patterson said the rain had boosted buyers' and sellers' good feelings about the season.
"There are more lambs coming forward now. Sellers have been waiting for the price to rise with the rain. And they need the cash flow."
Good lambs sold for more than $100, with a stronger demand for ram lambs.
They were going on to fresh grass and crops to fatten the lambs ready for slaughter, buyers said.
Feilding-based independent stock agent Robert Cranstone said areas around Taihape were dry last year and they had missed rain so far this season.
"It remains dry there and they need the growth, so they are getting rid of lambs. Many are going to Hawke's Bay where there has been grass through the summer."
Farmers Howard Voss and Tony Collis said there was a perceived shortage of lambs.
"The rain has helped and lots of guys have winter crops in," Voss said.
Collis said breeders had been hanging on to lambs, but the recent cold snap had brought them out for sale. An estimated $3 million changed hands
"It pumps a lot of money into Feilding's economy and is often not recognised as an important part of the economy," Voss said.