The Sheep, Deer and Cattle Report: Good demand for chilled lamb, quota issues for beef, and both deer products on track for a good season

Venison prices break through the $8 barrier this week as chilled game processing gets into full swing and a more favourable currency has seen prices pass last years levels.

Producers report yearling stags, including the revenue from spiker velvet, should make $500 a head and return this sector to profit after years of decline.

And deer researchers say they are close to identifying the immune boosting properties of velvet that make this unique product so valuable in Asian medicine.

Deer Industry NZ has invested heavily in velvet research to ensure that customers understand the value in this product and  create more markets other than the East to sell future volumes.


Spring lamb schedules move upwards in response to chilled demand and a more favourable currency, as processors encourage sales with significant premiums.

Processing numbers close in on the 20 million mark in the penultimate month, and new season lambs are now evident on low land properties.

Prospects for the Christmas market look reasonable, but the price of frozen product produced after this, will depend on how much stock is being carried by our main market destinations.

Prime lambs sold at saleyards are moving steadily up in the north driven by local trade pricing, while prices in the south remain stalled.

More changes are to be seen on the Alliance board as two of the senior directors retire, and with only the chairman having more than four years’ experience, it will be new faces making the tough decisions on the company’s future direction.

The industry levy vote reaches the half way stage as Beef and Lamb NZ seek to retain funding in its role of promoting and organizing the red meat sector.

Despite a currency reduction, last weeks South Island wool auction lost ground as lack of confidence in global markets and limited support from China, shaken by it’s share market troubles, saw indicators ease.

Prices are however well ahead of last year for all micron levels, and with very low stocks on hand this should underpin future demand.

More easing of manufacturing and bull beef prices this week as the implications of the increased dairy supply and a nearly full US beef quota is influencing individual processors pricing decisions.

With heavy tarriff penalties for quota breaches processors are putting excess product into alternative markets who unfortunately aren’t prepared to pay as much as US buyers.

Demand continues for prime stock and saleyard pricing is high especially in the south where lack of supply is keeping demand strong, similarily so for store stock in both islands.

Health and safety laws have come under the spotlight this week, with farms saved from having to appoint safety officers despite having a poor recent accident record.