The calf sale season starts in the South today and stock agents are feeling optimistic despite Covid›19 uncertainty.
PGG Wrightson livestock agent Russell Moloney, of Balclutha, said the Owaka Calf Sale at Balclutha Saleyards today would launch the calf sale season in the South.
About 1000 calves from about 14 farms would be on offer.
The R.B. Murray Trophy would be presented to the farmer selling the heaviestpen of steers. Shields would be awarded to the farmer fetching the highest prices for a pen of steers and a pen of heifers.
Calf sales for the wider South Otago region would be at the same venue on April 1, 22 and 29.
South Otago had been drier than usual but there was plenty of feed in Central Otago and East Otago.
The calf sale season was looking mostly positive, he said.
A‘‘slight hiccup’’ this season could be meatworks reducing capacity due to Covid ,possibly making it harder for farmers to send away cattle to make room for replacement calves.
‘‘Hopefully, farmers have got rid of their adult cattle.’’
Overall, the season was looking good, as regular buyers had signalled an intent to bid, the meat schedule was strong and grass was growing in areas in the South which were traditionally drier at this time of year. ‘‘If you took Covid out of the equation, you’d be setting yourself up for a very strong season for selling calves.’’ Calf sales are also being held at Mt Benger, Omakau, Palmerston, Waiareka and across Southland. PGG Wrightson Southland livestock manager Andrew Martin, of Invercargill, said seven calf sales were scheduled in Southland this season. The season starts at Castlerock Saleyards, north of Lumsden, on April 1 and ends at the same venue three weeks later. There are four calf sales at Castlerock Saleyards this season. Three of the sales service Northern Southland on April 1, 8 and 22. The calf sale at Castlerock Saleyards on April 13, services Western Southland. Calf sales for Eastern Southland were scheduled at Charlton Saleyards in Gore on April 6 and 20. Generally, Southland had been drier than normal so stock feed was in short supply. ‘‘Everybody is getting by, just.’’ He expected the number of calves on offer to be on par with previous years, with yardings ranging between about 600 to 1100. During the calf sale season, space at meatworks was generally ‘‘tight’’ and the possible effect of Covid›19, such as staff shortages, might cause delays. However, strong overseas demand for beef and a ‘‘reasonably solid schedule’’ was positive.