Wednesday, 14 April 2021 08:55

Livestock trading booming

Written by  Staff Reporters
NZ Farmers Livestock general manager livestock Bill Sweeney. NZ Farmers Livestock general manager livestock Bill Sweeney.

The livestock trading industry in New Zealand is stronger than ever thanks to the innovation and resilience which came to the fore during the pandemic, according to an industry veteran.

With more than 40 years behind him in the stock and station indusry, NZ Farmers Livestock general manager livestock Bill Sweeney says the pandemic halted livestock sales "for a very short time, but the innovation and resilience which then came through have made it stronger than it's ever been."

The strength Sweeney speaks of relates to farmers' ability to trade stock even when the country is locked down.

"We had been working on a hybrid auction platform before the country went into lockdown on 25 March 2020," Sweeney says.

"The pandemic simply meant we put the pedal down and got the MyLivestock plaform refined and released two weeks later so farmers could resume trading."

He says in the year since the lockdown, farmers have become familiar with the choice which now exists for livestock trading.

"Where before they might only attend and bid at the local yards, now they can bid at livestock auctions across New Zealand. That has seen a diversity and vibrancy which never existed before.

"Store cattle prices are currently pretty steady and holding. The biggest issue is the drought which hit some areas harder than others.

"The shipping of beef overseas has certainly held schedules but with recent rain and slightly cooler days, we are starting to see some grass growth which should see the store market increase. Once prime numbers and boner cow numbers lessen - which I believe is starting to happen - we should see a lift in values here.

"The dairy prices are stagnant due to supply and demand, albeit the milk payout is looking good. With some farms going out of dairying it is putting pressure on the number of cows to pick from and this is holding values to lower levels.

"Farm sales are happening and the sale of stock - both on-farm and at the yards - has certainly helped our numbers compared to last dairy season. The works have caught up with any backlog and processing times are not too bad at the moment."

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