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Record number of cull cows at Temuka sale

'Herd sizes are getting much larger'

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 08/05/2014
temuka sale
DEAN WILLIAMSON/ Fairfax NZ
RECORD: PGG Wrightson auctioneers Greg Uren and Joe Higgins at work in the cattle ring at the Temuka sale in April.

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The increasing size of dairy herds resulted this week in the largest number of cull cows seen at a South Canterbury sale.

More than 1120 cows were yarded at the Temuka sale on Monday, with prices ranging from $1.23 to $1.30 a kilogram for small beef cows (400 to 460kg) and $1.20 to $1.45 for dairy cows (490kg to 790kg).

PGG Wrightson stock agent Alan McRae said it was the largest number of cows he had seen sold at the Temuka sale for culling.

"I've been doing this for more than 40 years too. When I saw the number due to go for sale for these purposes, I was worried whether the demand would hold up," McRae said.

"But herd sizes are getting much larger, which means stock owners are having to sell off more of their less productive cows for culling."

Last year's Environment Canterbury dairy survey estimated there were more than 769,000 cows in the region - more than double the number in 2004.

The median herd size in South Canterbury has increased from about 580 in 2004 to 800 last year.

"More cows means more will go to sale, and it means there are bigger issues to deal with. There is a strong interest from buyers in the North Island."

McRae said he expected there to be at least 1000 cows yarded at the next two Temuka sales, after which the demand would subside.

"The prices they are going for aren't too much different from last year; it's just the number of them," he said.

"You get some purchasers who fatten the cows up afterwards so when it comes to actually culling them they get a better return."

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- The Timaru Herald

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