16 Feb 2010

Drop in livestock sales in Hawke's Bay

7:35 am on 16 February 2010

The rainy summer that has ended three dry years in Hawke's Bay has brought a drought of a different kind.

The rare summer pasture surplus on the region's farms has dried up the supply of sheep and cattle coming into local sale yards.

Livestock numbers are already well down on farms because of several years of drought. Farmers who would normally sell off stock at this time of year are hanging on to every animal they can, to eat the extra grass.

The manager of Stortford Lodge sale yards in Hastings, Bruce Campbell, says it would normally have 55,000 cattle and 500,000 sheep through the yards. In 2009, he says, turnover was about 38,000 cattle and 400,000 sheep.

Mr Campbell says farmers looking to buy extra stock are out of luck too, and the small number that are on offer are fetching big prices.