27 Jul 2009

Stock sales still hurt by drought

9:38 pm on 27 July 2009

The third drought in three years in Hawke's Bay is biting into the profitability of stock saleyards in the region.

The number of sheep sold in January at the Stortford Lodge yards in Hastings was more than 10,000 down on last year. Cattle sales were more than 50% lower.

Manager Bruce Campbell says cattle sales last month were 2,180 compared to the usual figure of about 5,000.

He says it is also going to be difficult to source the animals and the prices will be quite substantial.

The number of farmers in serious financial trouble in Hawke's Bay is also rising after three years of drought in some areas.

Almost 30 farmers now qualify for a government payment of almost $1,300 a month to cover living expenses - the number is more than three times higher than last year.