Prices for inputs used on New Zealand sheep and beef farms decreased 2.1% in the year to March  which should provide some small relief for farmers facing lower product prices this season.   The latest Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service sheep and beef on-farm inflation report shows a 2.1% decrease in the 2015-16 year follows a 1.1% increase the previous year.    The decrease was driven by falls in interest and fuel costs.    According to Beef n Lamb NZ’s chief economist Andrew  Burtt it was only partly offset by a rise in repairs, maintenance and vehicles .  Of the 16 input categories, prices for 10 increased and six decreased with the size and weighting of the decreases more than offsetting  the increases.   The largest price increases were for repairs, maintenance and vehicle running costs up 1.7%  administration up 1.4%  and wages up 1.2%.   These were offset by  decreases of 14.5% for interest and 12.7% for fuel.

Kiwi farmers need  to manage their stress levels and seek help quickly if they experience any signs of heart disease.   This from The Heart Foundation which is encouraging the thousands of farmers flocking  to the Fieldays this week, to head along to the Heart Foundation’s stand at Mystery Creek for a free blood pressure check and information about heart health.    Heart Foundation Head of Marketing, Darren Hopper, says many farmers are potentially at increased risk of stress, depression and anxiety, due to negative cash flows and rising debt levels.  He says it’s a very hard job,  often done in isolation but when you’re stressed, anxious or depressed for long periods of time, it can seriously affect heart health.   His advice is to simply talk to your partner, a close friend or family member and plan  activities that allow you to unwind, such as fishing or even reading a book.
76 per cent of dairy company suppliers are single-entity farms  owned by one ownership families and they are struggling to survive  According the Hawkes Bay Fonterra Shareholders Council representative Andrew Hardie.  He was at a public meeting in Wellington called by MPI  to discuss proposed changes to the dairy industry.   Also at the meeting  Dannevirke Dairy Farmer Will Phillips who says  NZers  are the lowest-paid dairy farmers in the world, by 50 per cent and if we’re not careful the industry will lose a generation of dairy farmers with many farmer’s  children no longer wanting to be dairy farmers,  which will have social consequences for supply towns like Dannevirke.

Finding your way around Fieldays next week will be easier this year, with the new Fieldays app putting information in the palm of your hand.   The app, is focused on allowing visitors to the event to easily navigate around the site, find their cars at the end of the day and create their own schedule of features to see.   The app is designed to make it easier for both exhibitors and visitors get around the site and  find whatever they may need.     Fieldays attracted 126,000 punters last year,  has over 1000 exhibitors this year and more than 11 vehicles park every minute during Fieldays, so now visitors can enjoy the day, quickly find essential event information add must-see events to a calendar and even remember where they’ve parked their car with the app’s ability to ‘pin your vehicle’s location’ for a seamless exit at the end of the day.     You can download the app now from the iTunes store or Google Play.

It was  a mild end to last week, with temperatures back to autumn levels.    The  north-westerly winds are not very welcome through the east coast, but they will help dry the ground out on the west coast.    The rain continues to fall in Northland forcing some to offload as pastures get waterlogged while in Hawke’s Bay it remains dry, with more forced to offload as feed runs out.     It’s certainly not your typical winter weather at present with many regions now into scanning, and results quite varied.   Some are reporting similar results to last season, with others saying results are down.   So far there have been no predicted disastrous figures following the facial eczema outbreak.     In the South Island the transition into winter is well underway and it, which has been particularly noticeable in the form of cool temperatures.  A blanket of white across pastures has become a common morning sight through all regions, keeping grass  growth tame at best. The day time temperatures haven’t been so harsh, though most areas south of Christchurch are lucky to make 12°C.       Snow is also slowly making an appearance in the higher country as well.      And for the snow bunnies the ski fields in the Queenstown Wanaka areas are open for business.
The cattle sale did not offer up a lot of quality on Friday. Angus Rising 3 year old steers weighing 446-543kg sold for $2.91-$3.14/kg while the rest were $2.67-$2.78/kg.  Good Angus R2 steers 401-430kg sold for $2.99-$3.08/kg,    while lighter traditional steers 325-375kg came back, with the indicator averaging $2.96/kg.  Friesians in the 425-475kg weight bracket eased  to $2.99/kg.  R3 Angus heifers at 405-410kg sold for $2.85-$2.89 per kilo  while the R2 heifers were of mixed quality. R1  traditional steers and heifers at 190-230kg lifted  to $3.69/kg  and $3.19/kg respectively.    A good number of Friesian R1 bulls at 169-195kg sold for $605-$715 and 15 Hereford bulls 250kg, $850.   Around 5000 more lambs than advertised arrived for sale on a very wet day in Feilding. The market was generally steady, though heavy male lines did loose the gains made last week. Male lambs weighing  35-40kg eased to earn $85-$104 with top price to $107, while lighter male lines remained steady.  Ewe lambs at 30-34kg sold for $75-$85 with a line of 370 shorn capital stock ewe lambs returning top price of $92.50.    Average per head price was slightly easier at $80.42 as was the indicator at $2.52/kg. 200 good Romney-cross ewes Scanned In Lamb at 172%,  made top price of $136.  Another 315 SIL 5-6yr Perendale x reached $130 while SIL Romney mixed-age fetched $131-$133 and 5yr old Romneys $135.