The first global dairy auction of the season has seen prices tumble, with crucial whole milk powder down 1.6 per cent ..the fourth fall in a row. Total dairy prices dropped 0.4 per cent. Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says while it’s only one auction, it is concerning and threatens the Fonterra farmgate milk forecast of $4.25 per kilo of milksolids. While ASB economist Nathan Penny says he does not regard it as a scene setter for the rest of the season, as prices may have been impacted by the fallout from the Brexit vote. 32 and a half thousand tonnes went under the hammer, with an average price of $2345 US dollars.

AnhydrousMilk Fat  up 1.1%  to $US 3621   Butter down 3.1%  to  $2828,   Butter Milk Powder down 7.75% to $1552    Cheddar   down 0.5% to  $US2902,   Lactose down 1.2% to $750    Rennet Casein up  4.9% to  $5227, Skim Milk Powder up 2.6% to $US 1938  and   Whole Milk Powder down 1.6%  as you heard to  $US 2062.
The amount of whole milk powder was 56 per cent more than at the previous auction, but the drop in price indicates low demand. Volumes are expected to increase, peaking in September. Skim milk powder prices rose partly spurred on by the fact Europe is intervening and stockpiling record quantities.

Waikato Police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward after the latest attack by poachers – there’s been a spate of stock slaughtered and stolen in night-time raids on farms. Cambridge couple Ewan and Stephanie Hulse watched as thieves shot and tried to steal one of their prize breeding stags last Tuesday night. The 113-kilogram stag, a 28-pointer, was worth between five and 7 thousand dollars. The couple believe the poachers ..who were armed with rifles .. were after the antlers. They heard a shot about 40m from the property, and went out in the dark where they saw their animal lying in the paddock and the thieves trying to drag the stag down a ridge. When the poachers realised they’d been spotted , they jumped the gate and “took off”. The couple did get an anonymous phonecall a few days later with some information they have passed onto police. Enquiries are continuing but the offenders have not yet been identified. Police say if poachers are spotted, best call 111 ..and do not approach.

A Chinese woman has been fined 400 dollars after failing to declare a large cow’s tooth hidden in her handbag when she flew into Queenstown airport – she says it was a “lucky charm’. A biosecurity detector dog sniffed out the tooth last weekend. The woman’s friend claimed it was a dog’s tooth but MPI staff quickly recognised it as being from a cow ..and promptly confiscated it ..and fined the owner. Border Clearance Manager Andrew Spelman says worst case scenario the tooth could have been contaminated with foot-and-mouth disease…or  carrying a disease such as rabies, given its rural origin and the unknown circumstances of the cow’s death.” Rather than trying to smuggle the tooth in, they say the woman’s failure to declare it seems to have been an unintentional mistake.

Despite volatile currencies and plenty of global uncertainty, cattle slaughter prices largely remained steady this week.    Several companies signalled a decline in cattle prices in their  printed schedules, but it seems that the continued drop off  in slaughter rates has kept competitive pressure elevated and made it difficult for any significant decline to stick.  There has been evidence of the upper end of price ranges coming back, particularly for cow and prime steer prices.   Northland continues to offload prime cattle in decent numbers, and very wet conditions in the majority of the island are also seeing a few more cattle head to slaughter, however nothing significant. Processing capacity is well down at present as there are a number of plants closed for maintenance,  which should keep a lid on competitive pressure going forward and prices are likely to remain steady at current levels.    In the South     Cattle production is also slipping into the quieter months of the year now.   Several processing plants are either closed or nearing closure for both maintenance and preparation for the coming bobby slaughter. Even with this situation, space is still relatively easy to come by for export type cattle.   However, the combination of the higher NZ dollar, and the fact that some processors are sourcing a large portion of their slaughter numbers through contracts, are keeping spot  market prices from climbing any further.

Most mixed sex lines 28-34kg sold for $90-$95, while lighter  lambs earned $65-$86 with several lambs under 31kg fetching well over $3/kg. The average weight of the yarding was lighter than last week but average per head price was firmer, which resulted in the indicator  finishing at $3.08/kg. A light yarding of prime lambs sold on a generally  steady market. Good lambs sold for $118-$128, mediums $106-$116 and light $90-$102.   A larger yarding of prime ewes met with  strengthening demand. Prices lifted $3-$5 across all classes. Very good ewes sold for $109-$115, top ewes $90-$100, medium $75-$85 and light $55-$70.   Heavy prime steers 575kg plus, sold  on a steady market to average $2.77kg. A larger number weighed in at 506-575kg and sold for $2.88-$2.97/kg though the 500kg indicator graph was slightly easier at $2.92/kg. Good prime heifers 440-524kg sold for $2.82-$2.89/kg. Prime cows 533-590kg made $1.81-$1.95/kg and lighter 435-472kg made $1.76-$1.82/kg.  Angus-cross steers 282-315kg sold for $810 and all bulls 394-398kg made $990-$1000 or $2.51/kg. Limousin-cross store heifers 368kg sold well at $1070 or $2.91/kg and Hereford-cross 349kg made $990 or $2.84/kg.