A whole generation of farmers don’t seem to know about the advantages of feeding NZ-grown grain to livestock, claims Jeremy Talbot.
Traditionally weaner calves were included in general stock sales but farmer demand – as growers and buyers – led to the development of fairs which cater exclusively for weaner calves.
PGG Wrightson Livestock manager Maurice Stewart says at least 12,000 weaners will have been sold at the four weaner fairs the company held at Feilding in the first five months of this year.
“The fair on April 22 and 23 saw increased numbers and prices which were, on average, 20-30 cents more per kg than 2014 and 10-20 cents/kg up on prices achieved at earlier weaner fairs.
“The Feilding weaner fair is one of the larger sales in New Zealand with stock coming from the lower North Island. Increased numbers this year reflect that many farmers, who would normally carry weaners through to spring but whose pastures were hard hit by the drought, have taken advantage of the record prices and destocked. There was strong buyer demand from farmers in the lower North Island who have grass or supplements to generate weight gain over winter.
“2000 head came forward at the April 22-23 sale, representing a good split of traditional (Angus/Angus x) and exotic (Charolais and Simmental) calves.
“The average for weaner steers was $3.57/kg, 30 cents higher than last year; this translates to $100-$200 more per calf over prices achieved at the same time last year. Some pens of heavy steers achieved more than $1000 per head.