Drought expected to impact on sale

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Rarely will there be a better opportunity to buy merino lambs at bargain prices than at the annual Omarama merino lamb sale on Thursday.

A total of 5600 merino wether lambs, 2400 merino ewe lambs, 1500 black face mixed-sex lambs, 800 halfbred wether lambs, 250 halfbred ewe lambs, 800 Dohne wether lambs and 200 ewe wether lambs will go under the hammer at the annual auction.

PGG Wrightson livestock manager Mark Yeates said most of the 12,000 merino lambs to be sold were annual lines that came in each year and were highly regarded because of their ability to move well to other areas.

He said drought conditions in the area would have a large impact on this year’s sale, with many lambs not in the kind of conditions buyers generally expect because of a lack of feed due to the lack of rain.

“The general drying conditions are having a big effect on new lambs and these merinos are no different.

“There’s a good opportunity to buy these lambs at quite reasonable levels. There’s very good potential to see a good margin by spring.”

Considered to be one of the South Island’s more popular merino sales, Mr Yeates said it was hard to gauge just how many would show up this time.

He said one factor that might have an impact on numbers was the fact many farmers had been off-loading stock to the meat-processing industry earlier than usual because of feed shortages and fears over lower prices.

By Daniel Birchfield