The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Lamb schedules keep rising while the venison industry uses low production period to diversify markets and grow all year chilled demand

The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Lamb schedules keep rising while the venison industry uses low production period to diversify markets and grow all year chilled demand


More schedule rises this week, as the lamb market continues its recent positive trend and sees improved returns for finishers that were able to sell later in the year.

Lamb processing numbers are falling off, and some plants have gone into its seasonal shutdown early.

Limited global supplies are helping demand and our Aussie neighbors are having similar issues with shortages.

Reports suggest our lamb trade into India is growing, as the marketers use our international cricketers to boost the awareness of customers of this product grown in New Zealand.

Beef and Lamb NZ’s analysis suggest a small pretax profit increase for farmers on the back of improving sheep meat and beef returns, but these were held back by wools demise.

Prime lambs sold at saleyards have lifted in price with the schedule increases and the north ($128) leads southern yards by about $10/hd.

Last week’s North Island sale saw a clearance rate again at only 70%, and sadly with easing price indicators as well.                                                                                                 

While industry sources believe holding wool volumes back over the last three months was the correct thing to do, they now have become very nervous about the stocks of unsold wool over hanging the market.

 Much of the product is now selling in the $2+ greasy range and is at a level totally uneconomic to harvest and grow.

More falls in cow beef prices this week, as plants fill to capacity with the dairy cow cull and heavy prime animals are harvested before the winter.

Prime export and local trade schedules remain steady, although buyers of forward store stock will be hoping for some movement soon or their trading purchases will have tight margins.

The Asian markets have weakened slightly, but rain in Australia has meant some restocking has weakened supply into the global market.

Beef and Lamb NZ report that beef exports are down 1.8% annually on the back of a lower dairy cow cull, but price averages of 503c/kg for steers and heifers, and 492c/kg for bull meat, reflects a profitable year for farmers with beef.

The autumn calf sales have come to an end, but prices have remained very strong all through the selling period, and purchasers will be hoping the beef boom continues for 18 months to 2 years for the harvest.

Prime steers sold via the saleyards are at last starting to move upwards under short supply, with the south breaking the $3/kg lwt barrier last week, and leading the north by 10c/kg.

More steady venison schedules this week, as the industries chilled summer campaign starts in Europe, with a goal to build demand out of the traditional autumn period.

With shortages, much of the product is now being purchased via contracts, as processors strive to guarantee supply for the high value chilled and retail customers.

Industry officials hope than when production lifts again, the market will be better diversified by destinations and supplying more chilled product, and this should enable less seasonal volatility in venisons yearly pricing.

The recent cold weather will reignite the roar and managers will be looking to rotate breeding stags with hinds, and ensure adequate feed is saved for recovering the animals weight loss before winter.

Velvet exporters report very little stock is being held from last years harvest, although prices have been estimated to have returned about 20% less than the year before.

After a difficult start to the season, this has been deemed a good result, with the extra volumes grown being absorbed seamlessly into the market place.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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