Daniel Griffiths - Spence Dix & Co
Spence Dix & Co
The Mid North Livestock Perspective
For farmers the year started dry and so with lower than average opening rains and none following up some crops were even from that early stage under threat of even coming up. There was to be no “decent” falls throughout the winter months until early August but by then all of the cereal and legume crops were stunted and some even running up to head...the dry year and poor yield was evident.
The August/ September rainfall, as small as it was saved some, but then in late September a number of frosts and no further rains expected gave farmers no other option but to cut down and make hay in an effort to make something off of their crops. Plenty of farmers even cut frosted lentils for hay which in turn has feed tested really well and will provide a good return as the hay market is remaining quite buoyant in the eastern states. The grain yields are roughly 50%-75% down on historic yield averages but with the price for grain quite high, the return is still quite rewarding.
The livestock industry also got caught up with the dry season with no early feed resulting in lower lambing percentages. Grain was fed to stock from February through to August when welcoming rains provided some improvement in pastures which new season lambs responded to quickly getting them up to killable weights with lambs selling during Spring for prices up to $9/ kgdw on hooks or more on good market weeks.
There was strong demand for both young and old breeding ewes mainly to the south and lower south of South Australia with prices reaching upwards of $300/ hd for ewe hoggets. Another bonus for livestock farmers is the incredible prices being paid for wool which gives a further boost to their livestock enterprise.
Looking forward to early next year, farmers that have purchased store lambs to put out on stubbles and failed crops, I believe will reap the reward. Contract prices that are currently $7.80/ kgdw for Christmas to end of January should continue through to the middle of the year with quality of lambs being harder to source.
For both the agricultural and livestock sector we hope for an early break end of March early April to ensure a positive start to our new season.