Canterbury sheep sales dry up in drought

Canterbury sheep sales dry up in drought

Canterbury livestock sales are starting to feel the impact of the region's long-running drought, with stock numbers plummeting and prices on the rise.

PGG Wrightson auctioneer Nic Denton says after two dry seasons, many locals have already destocked due to a lack of feed. It was "particularly quiet" with stock numbers down by around 50 percent.

"There's been some very tough decisions made in north Canterbury with destocking, so obviously it's a flow-on effect from that," he says.

"Most of our clients in north Canterbury are probably seeing two-thirds of what they usually carry in normal season."

Grant Nordstrom, livestock manager at Canterbury Agricultural Park, says it's a quiet time of the year but less and less sheep were coming through the yards. 

"Prices are up as you can see, which is [in] the farmer's favour, but numbers are down, which is working against everybody."

Cheviot farmer Edward Anderson says the drought has been "hugely expensive" for his operation.

"It's just about being critical with what we're spending the money on, what stock we're keeping and trying to crawl our way out of this drought any way possible."

There's tough times ahead, with Environment Canterbury expecting a third-straight season of drought as dozens of wells dry up around the region and groundwater levels drop.