The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Strong demand for all products except wool, as winter starts with satisfactory feed levels


Further  lamb schedule lifts this week reflects strong demand for a market in short supply and one that is prepared to pay extra for it.

Beef and Lamb NZ chairman warns that after the proposed Fairton closure, more sheep plant closures are possible, especially after the  present stock numbers are considered.

Capital investment into the remaining plants is increasing at both Alliance and Silver Fern Farms who  are spending to improve efficiency and add value, to improve returns.

The winter has started well for most regions with plentiful feed allowing breeding ewes a smooth transition into maintenance feeding and tidying up tag in pastures.

Reports suggest more hoggets have been mated this year, and with very poor returns from wool any return from the poorest producing stock unit on the farm, is worthwhile.

Scanning will be starting in the early flocks up north and this will increase the flow of animals into a mutton market that is also very strong.

Te Mana lamb, the brand developed out of the Alliance, Headwaters Group and MPI Primary Growth partnership, launches in Hong Kong,  and purports to be the world’s tastiest and healthiest, with naturally high polyunsaturated fats and Omega 3.

Local trade schedules have lifted with export, as  average prime lambs at saleyards are now nearing $120 dollars.


Another NI wool sale saw clearance rates back at 71% and no end in sight for crossbred wool price woes.

Nobody is fronting on how the sector can recover from this slump, so maybe it is up to the scientists to discover an alternative use for the product that will liven up competition.

There was an increase in demand for finer lambs and quality second shear, but concerns still remain as to how all the stocks will be dispersed before the new season’s stock hits the market.



Some small schedule lifts for beef this week as the peak flow of dairy cows fills the plant.

Mixed signals from local trade prices as South Island values lifted by 10c/kg but North Island prices dropped by 20c.

The store market has eased slightly back from previous highs but it is the dairy cross animals that have felt the most of these drops.

Demand continues however for in calf beef heifers with record prices  at Fielding achieved for a very good line of Herefords at $2840/hd for the top line.

MPI launches a “fit for transport app” which will be a valuable tool to help agents and managers decide whether an animal is allowed to be shifted.

A second shipment of phosphate has been halted from Western Sahara as the Chatham Rise proponents believe NZ should own this resource to guarantee the security of supply.


More schedule lifts for venison  as Silver Fern Farms offers a global retail contract to satisfy the growing demand for chilled product.

With prices now closing in on $9/kg the experienced deer farmers are getting nervous that these rates are sustainable, and increase the risk of this quality meat pricing itself off the market.

This week’s Deer Industry Conference in Wellington is another opportunity for the industry to plan its future growth and re-establish this sector at the forefront of livestock options.

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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