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Sheep, Deer and Cattle Report: Venison demand weak in Europe and beef and pelt processing downsizing

Sheep, Deer and Cattle Report: Venison demand weak in Europe and beef and pelt processing downsizing


Venison schedules were stable this week but realization from farmers that prices look to have peaked will be very disappointing for an industry desperate to maintain its stock numbers after years of high female kills.

Some exporters report Europe is in a very poor state economically, and are nervous of orders for the incoming frozen venison market.

Velvet prospects look to be similar to last year, as stability rules in this sector and low stocks and falling production from other countries leaves NZ in the box seat to fill the Chinese and Korean markets.

The velvet contract offered for the first time last year is expected to be at a similar rate, and the Chinese are starting to broaden the grades they buy, but unfortunately with little premium for quality.


As the new season starts in October, old season schedule directions are now mixed and teeth emergence in last years lambs ensures hogget grading discounts are now activated.

The September kill figures will show how many extra lambs were killed out of the replacement flock this year due to drought conditions that will leave a major hole in any numbers turnaround for the sheep sector.

Richard Young of the Meat Industry Excellence Group has made a strong call for farmers to support the meat co-operatives as a first step to pressure the sector for real reform and Mike Petersen reports that his tradeable slaughter rights idea aroused considerable interest but will not be implemented this season.

Early results in an Alliance led forage trial shows high sugar ryegrasses improved growth rates in lambs and will be another important tool for sheep farmers to use as they look to improve production and profits.

Negotiations are continuing with SFF and Lowe Corporation on a deal that could see toll processing of pelts and a rationalization of the southern meat processors Shannon fellmongering  operation.

The price of last seasons saleyard prime lambs has plateaued although local trade schedules have sat at a high for 9 weeks in the south island.


Recent trends continued at the latest South Island auction with indicators for mid micron fibre falling to yearly lows and merino prices also disappointing but coarse crossbred wools at yearly highs and 137c/kg clean ahead of last years similar sale.

Wools of NZ and Wool International announce a partnership arrangement with their lambs wool contract which is a positive sign that some progress is being made in an industry approach with this troubled sector.


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More easing in beef schedules as the currency sucks the strength out of beefs prospects although South Island local trade beef prices have maintained their 9 week high.

Feed and shortage of store cattle are driving the cattle markets especially in some north island areas although lack of cash flow after last years drought will hinder some for a while yet.

Grumpy shareholders expressed their displeasure at Ravensdown’s poor performance at the AGM, especially as Ballance produced such an excellent result in a similar market, and were assured this proud fertilizer company would get back to its core business and return to profits this year.

And more downsizing by SFF in its beef processing plants, with the new state of the art Te Aroha plant proposed to replace the nearby Waitoa operation.

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