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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Review of the Canterbury Live Stock Market, for the Quarter ending March 31st, 1877

page 212

Review of the Canterbury Live Stock Market, for the Quarter ending March 31st, 1877.

The past three months, April, May, and June, are the most active in the year so far as the Live Stock Market is concerned; and this season has been unusually so, owing to the abundance of grass on our pastures, and the large quantity of stubble feed brought on by late rains during the autumn, augmented by a largo breadth of turnips through the country, both on farms where grain crops are intended to follow, and on large freeholds preparatory to sowing down with grass without crop.

On account of heavy rains, followed by cold storms with but few intervals of bright clear days, the season has not been favourable to stock; but owing to the excess of feed, the sheep and cattle brought forward have been in unusually good condition; it is also noticeable that, our flocks and herds are yearly improving in quality, owing to careful culling and the attention paid to breeding generally.

Through the month of April large lines of Store Ewes changed hands, bought principally by farmers. Good sound-mouthed Merino Ewes bringing from 3s. 6d. to 5s. each; while two, four, or six toothed sheep of the same class were quitted readily at from 6s. to 8s. each, with but limited supply, the demand being principally for shipment to the North Island.

Merino Wethers, in good store condition suitable for turnip feeding, have ranged from 4s. to 7s. each, the difference in price being governed by quality and growth of wool.

Cross-bred Ewes have also been in fair demand, bringing from 8s. to 10s. each; Wethers of the same class may be quoted at same rates, with the exception of two-toothed sheep, and these, not being considered quite suitable for turnip feeding, have not been so much enquired for.

Three-fourths and seven-eighths-bred sheep have brought slightly higher prices, in proportion to weight and value of fleece.

Sound, healthy Lambs have been much in request, ranging from 5s. to 9s. each, the value being ruled by condition and the different grades of breeding.

Fully three-fourths of the store sheep sold have been placed privately and at country sales; while, during the quarter, about 81,000 of all sorts have been passed through the sale-yards at Addington,

Best quality fat sheep, for butchers' purposes, have brought from l¾d. to 2¼d. per pound; while those of slightly inferior quality have, for the most part, been sold to farmers, to be finished off on turnips or grass, and will be again brought forward at the end of the winter, when, as the skins will have increased in value, we may expect higher rates.

The meat-preserving establishments are still in operation, and have done good service in relieving the market whenever a full supply caused a slight reduction from the prices quoted.

On the whole, the prices that have ruled both for fat and store sheep show an increased value over the corresponding season of 1876.

Over 5000 head of cattle have been passed through the yards during the three months; fat cattle selling, on an average, at from 26s. to 30s. per 100 lbs.—prices that are scarcely remunerative to the grazier at this season, especially when compared with the value of stores during the preceding twelve months.

In the latter there is scarcely any difference from last quotations; perhaps a careful review of the different stock reports published during the quarter will show a slight reduction on former rates, and a greater difficulty to quit, a circumstance not unusual at this season; but, towards the close of the winter and the commencement of spring, we may look forward to higher rates for beef, and a more active demand for store cattle.

In pigs, the market has not been very regularly supplied, and prices have ruled low compared with former rates.