Stock market steadily returning to bullish conditions

Posted at 11:20am Monday 12 Oct, 2020

The Wellsford Saleyards sell the highest volume of stock in Northland.
The Wellsford Saleyards sell the highest volume of stock in Northland.

Bernie McGahan is a stock rep and auctioneer for PGG Wrightson.
Bernie McGahan is a stock rep and auctioneer for PGG Wrightson.

Prices have started to improve at the Wellsford Saleyards, and the volume of stock sold is already up on the same time last year.

PGG Wrightson sheep and beef rep Bernie McGahan says while prices are not as good as years gone by, August and September have shown signs of recovery after the drought.

Farmers were reluctant to sell during July as prices were low and animals were lean.

A lack of availability of silage due to drought also scared buyers off and conditions created by the global shock of Covid-19 did not help.

However, Bernie says September has been an exceptional month as that backlog begins to move through the saleyard.

“We are well ahead of the same time last year. Per head tallies are up, although values are still slightly back,” he says.

At the cattle sale on September 28, prices ranged from $2.84 per kg for two year traditional steers to $3.32 per kg for yearling Angus-Friesian steers.

Bernie says a “spring flush”, when the grass grows, will likely take effect in October and November and should see prices lift.

“I am expecting October to be a good month. The rain will come and the grass will grow.”

The Wellsford Saleyards sees the highest annual volume of stock trades among saleyards north of Auckland.

Farmers from Dargaville, Whangarei and Auckland travel to Wellsford. The next closest saleyards with scales are in Kaikohe and Tuakau.

In the year ending May 2019, 30,000 cattle and 32,000 sheep were sold in Wellsford. Due to the impact of Covid-19 and drought, in the year ending May 2020, only 24,000 cattle and 23,000 sheep were sold.

Saleyards trial streaming auctions

Successive Covid-19 lockdowns shut down activity at saleyards forcing stock agents to adapt with a new online platform.

After lockdown, PGG Wrightson released the Bidr online platform, which hosts a livestream of auctions with only half-a-second delay.

It was successfully trialled at the Whangarei Cattle Fair. Meanwhile, the Wellsford Saleyards started trials this month.

Bernie says the ambition is to livestream all major cattle fairs in Wellsford next year.

Online auctions add value to sellers by providing the opportunity for buyers from all over the country to make offers from their computer.

However, Bernie does not believe that online auctions should ever replace saleyards entirely.

“There's a social factor to meeting others at the saleyards. I don't think that it will go away, and I don't think that it should.”

Kikitangeo Romney sale highly anticipated

Famed sheep breeder Gordon Levet has been persuaded to sell his prized Kikitangeo Romney ewes at the Wellsford Saleyards, rather than privately. Gordon is retiring and will sell his best breeding ewes. The sale takes place on Monday, February 24 and is expected to draw farmers from all over the country. The Kikitangeo Romney are renowned for their genetic resistance to parasitic worms. The worms are increasingly proving resistant to medical treatment.


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