interest.co.nz has a sister on-line publication agridata.co.nz which follows rural issues of interest to working farmers. We are working to draw the two services closer together, and this project will be launched later in the year. In the meantime, here is Agridata's latest weekly review of farm-gate prices and price influencers. Deer As the autumn approaches many deer farmers will be looking for market signals to calculate the price of weaners. With most of these animals harvested for the spring chilled market, early venison price parameters are important in creating a sustainable value. Exporters' early indications are for a spring schedule lower than last year, directly reflective of the strengthened euro, at about $8.25 per kg. And with a five year average fall in spring-to-summer schedules of about $1.44, this will give producers a feel of the market for budgeting purposes. For sustainable long term weaner deer production, farmers should be developing relationships with finishers that share the highs and lows of venison prices in the spring. The focus should be on getting more, big animals early and on the ground in autumn, factors that skilled management can influence.
The latest deer schedule prices are here >> Lamb Lamb producers faced mixed signals this week, as some companies removed Easter premiums, while others increased their schedule. Demand overseas is still good and it is helpful some alternative proteins are under supply pressure. The processing kill continues to lag behind, and if the extra lambs born this year, are added to this slow start, many more twists and turns are yet to be seen in the lamb market. The price for prime lambs at saleyards has steadied in the south, but is still firming in the north. Store lambs continue to sell at very strong prices with some farmers receiving more for their best stores than for lighter export primes. Store sheep sales are all being influenced by supply, especially for young sheep. In the south, lack of dairy conversions, which last year released good capital stock onto the market, have been missed. The latest lamb schedule prices are here >> Wool The wool market took a breather from its highs of two weeks ago and auction prices were back slightly more than the currency lift. Farmers responded after the recent optimism by passing nearly 20% of the sale, hoping prices will resume their improvement in the future. Response to the Wool Task Force report has been positive by the exporters, but farmers will only be convinced by steady sustainable price levels, not optimistic reports. You can find the latest wool price reports and trends here >> Beef Stronger domestic prices in the US and tighter supplies of imported product continue to influence this important market. Currency remains critical in pricing, and feed in many areas of Australia and NZ is also an influence. Last months beef processing numbers confirm the slow kill and are helping to lift the schedules at a time of year prices are normally flat. The bull schedule continues its rapid rise and is now only 10c off its yearly high. Saleyard prime steers are only slowly being influenced by the export schedule. Dairy Dairy commodity prices stabilised this week after a period where the US$ traded in the 69-70c range. Traders and importers are reported to be waiting for the March skim milk powder auction to get a feel where the market is at. Volumes on offer are low, and whether this will be enough to move prices is debatable, but winter auctions could have more influence. Fonterra continues to invest heavily in processing, with the world's largest dryer commissioned recently in Edendale. Only 7 dairy farms sold in January, a traditionally busy month, with commentators suggesting a cautious attitude to dairy lending by the banks is the primary cause. For more detailed news and information about rural issues, and animal and feed prices, visit www.agridata.co.nz