ONCE again the tablelands seems to be blessed receiving 15 to 25 millimetres during the weekend buying us another couple of valuable weeks as we head into spring. The local district certainly varies considerably when it comes to seasonal conditions.
Areas around Blayney and south halfway towards Cowra and the high country around Oberon remain reasonably good and still with the potential to develop into reasonable seasons.
In contrast the Bathurst basin, west of Orange and around Cowra itself are starting to look desperately dry and the time fast running out if rain is to recover the season's potential. The next week or two will be critical as producers look at crops and weigh up whether to cut, feed off or hold on for grain.
Livestock markets continue to show resilience against the faltering season with lambs seemingly finding a floor during the past week or two as the market transitioned from old into the new season. Demand for store lambs has remained firm and looks likely to stay there.
One would think that with a large number of crops being judged unable to continue forward and not sufficiently advanced to be able to cut there will remain a strong demand for store lambs in the near term.
As the season unfolds the future still remains upbeat for finished lambs and if you can get the weight on the prospects look good for the later parts of the year.
Cattle markets on the other hand are struggling to hang onto earlier gains and as producers are making tough decisions and are unloading increasing numbers as the decision to sell rather than feed is becoming more and more common.
Large numbers of cows and heifers continue to roll through prime markets and as this continues unabated one has to wonder where this leaves breeding capacity when this horrific run of dry seasons comes to an end.
You would think those that can get through to that time with herds almost intact will be in an enviable position. Let's just hope it happens sooner rather than later as every month that goes by is just going make the road to recovery so much longer.
Bull selling season has been in full swing across the tablelands over the past week or two with most sales posting solid results.
Commercial producers continue to be spoiled for choice for top quality sires locally - especially in Angus breed - a fact that we see reflected every year in the quality weaner offerings.
Given the tough conditions the bulls this season have been carried through, all involved deserve the heartiest of congratulations.
Bull breeding would have to be the toughest of gigs - and all that work culminating on one day - not for the faint hearted.
Well done to all you're a credit to the industry.
- Ben Emms is a principal of Ray White Emms Mooney, Blayney, and a member of Australian Livestock and Property Agents Assoc.