Prices lift but rain needed

The last stock sale of the year at Feilding was a strong one for cattle and sheep.

Kimbolton farmer Hamish Brown said yesterday lambs were $10 more than at last week's sale as farmers chased them, hoping much-needed rain would boost their pastures and crops.

He also said there was a good bench of buyers at yesterday's sale.

PGG Wrightson stock agent Dan Flanagan said the dry season so far was the reason farmers had put many lambs in the sale. There were 10,000.

He said the few shorn lambs made more than those that were still woolly, as farmers wouldn't have to bother about shearing them.

Shorn lambs also didn't have to suffer in the heat.

Mr Flanagan said the main thing that attracted buyers was an even draft of lambs, they were all a similar size.

"It's different this year to last year. Then lambs that were $120, are now about $72 this year. There have been a lot of lambs in the $60 to $70 range this year. Also people that bought 500 lambs last year, are buying 100 this year - concerned about the dry conditions."

Whakarongo farmer Rob Strawbridge said he got 20 millimetres of rain earlier this week.

"Prices for lambs are OK this year. Last year, you couldn't buy much for under $90."

He said he had some new grass, and his need for lambs would depend on there being adequate rain.

The dry conditions are also pushing more cattle into the sale.

The next Feilding prime sheep and cattle sale, as well as boner cattle sale, will be held on Monday, January 7.

Dairy farmers were also hoping for rain, as dry conditions limited milk flow.

Rain earlier this week was useful for some farmers with crops, but did not alleviate the dry conditions for most.

Rain is forecast this coming week.

Feilding farmer Gordon McKellar said there was 12 millimetres of rain at his farm in Lees Rd earlier this week.

"A useful start for helping crops establish but not enough to make a significant difference to the dry conditions."

He said the rain was patchy, and some farmers got hardly any moisture.

And Pohangina Valley farmer Mike Holdaway said: "We are still green and have a lot of clover around but haven't had a decent rain since October, so we are right on a knife edge at the moment."

He was hopeful there would be decent rain, about 80mm.

Manawatu Standard