Rural Market Update: Soil moisture levels boost pasture growth and confidence

Soil moisture levels have stabilised across much of the country, however far north farmers are still coping with dryer than normal conditions.

Heartland Bank Head of Livestock, Wayne McEntee said the moisture levels were good news for some.

"It has boosted pasture growth and confidence in areas such as the Hawke's Bay and Manawatu, however the Far North remains dry," he said. 

In the South Island the weather remained fairly mild for early winter, although lack of sunshine hours in some regions are affecting pasture growth. 

"On average for the last four weeks the West Coast and Nelson are having slower pasture growth than last year, while the East Coast is exceeding year-on-year growth."

Wayne McEntee is the head of livestock at Heartland Bank.
Wayne McEntee is the head of livestock at Heartland Bank. Photo credit: Newshub

Bookings had become more current in most areas of the country, which had driven an increase in demand and schedules for prime in particular. 

South Island prime slaughter prices have been tracking below 2018 all year. 

"However, reports of late winter/early spring contracts of up to $6.00/kg indicate that prices could push ahead, and things are looking positive." 

He said confidence in the store market had lifted slightly in the North Island and heavier stock in particular have seen an improvement. 

In the South Island, demand remains soft for dairy-beef although there is good competition for top quality traditional beef steers.

A good domestic supply of leaner grinding beef has been putting pressure strong US imported beef prices in recent weeks. 

"This pushed the 95CL bull beef price below US$2.30/lb for a very brief period.

However, the "China factor" meant that NZ exporters were able to direct exports away from the US market, last month. 

NZ beef exports to the US were 19,293t in May which was 8,000t below May last year (-29 percent). 

At the same time, manufacturing beef exports to China were 5,100t (+268 percent) ahead of last May at 7,036t. Over the past two weeks, the US imported beef prices have shown a second rally, now sitting at $2.34/lb for 95CL and $2.15/lb for the 90CL cow product. 

Rural Exchange Market Update is sponsored by Heartland Bank
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