27 Jan 2009

Renewed interest at sheep sales

1:25 pm on 27 January 2009

The rapid decline in dairy prices may be contributing to a renewed interest in sheep farming.

PGG Wrightson's livestock genetics manager, Bruce Orr, who has been keeping a close eye on annual sales of stud rams and ewes, said prices are more consistent.

He said there had been a definite surge in confidence and prices for commercial breeding ewes had doubled compared to last year.

Mr Orr said the improvement was due to a loss of lack of confidence in the dairy industry.

Overall, however, the increased interest has not been reflected in prices. Average prices at this month's Canterbury ram and ewe fair were lower than the past two years.

Mr Orr said the significant lift in sheepmeat returns and prices for store stock this season is also encouraging renewed interest.

He said decline in sheep numbers in the past decade has taken its toll on sheep breeding. A large number of long-established sheep studs have closed down in the past few years.