A drier than average start to autumn has seen meat processing plants flat out coping with demand from farmers to have stock processed.
Heartland Bank's latest 'Livestock Market Essentials' report said the cow kill has continued to increase in most parts of the country.
It said it was due to the ongoing dry conditions forcing farmers to make decisions on cull cows rather than continuing to milk them.
Head of Livestock for Heartland Bank, Wayne McEntee told Rural Exchange that beef farmers are facing long waits for space.
"It's generally quite hard to get seller space at the freezing works, it's between a seven and ten-day wait," he said.
He said prices have dropped from last year.
"For example in Hawke's Bay, in calf cows have sold for between $1100 and $1300, while last year they would have been between $1500 and $1600, so prices are definitely back in the cattle game."
He said cattle farmers are looking at longer term trade, which means a range of influences can change over that time and affect margins.
"Weather, schedule, currency, there are a few different things that will play their part."
He he advised farmers to try not to over pay for an animal
"You never know what the winter will bring, so the advice is to buy well and feed well."
Rural Exchange Market Update is sponsored by Heartland Bank
Watch Wayne McEntee's full interview with Rural Exchange.
Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay and Richard Loe, 6-8am Saturday and Sunday on Magic Talk.