The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: More farms start lambing but pessimism grows about pricing prospects for the new season


The lamb schedules lifted again this week, as the markets continued to firm but volatility in the NZD has been negative to farm gate returns.

With the tight supply most product has been sent to chilled markets helping maintain prices, but with demand in the UK easing recently, concerns remain how the market will react when NZ ‘s main production period starts.

Big losses have been recorded from the early lambing areas of the North Island, and concerns are being expressed where the Christmas chilled product will come from this year.

More North Island and southern flocks will be starting lambing now and every animal will be needed to improve the profits from sheep.

Demand for ewes at the point of lambing has been soft, with in lamb ewes looking good buying at $95/$100 a head in Canterbury, although at other saleyards animals with high scanning results have been selling for $30-$40 more.

Independent Meat Processors and Canterbury Fresh Lamb Ltd have gone broke owing $16 million, and reducing competition for prime stock in the Canterbury region.


This week’s South Island wool sale was weaker and vendors only sold 72% of the sale.

A quiet Chinese market and European holidays was blamed for the soft sale, although mid micron and finer wools did lift in value.

Fine crossbred wools are now 148c/kg behind the similar sale last year, and coarser wools just half that, but these lower returns coupled with disappointing meat prices will further dent sheep farmers confidence.



More stable beef schedules this week, as the US market stalls, but with low stocks on hand, at this stage it has had little effect on NZ’s market.

Analysts suggest big volumes of domestic product are anticipated to weigh heavily on the US market and this could influence demand for our future grinding product.

Rabobank reports that lower meat prices are predicted in the US with beef values estimated to drop 22% at retail this year.

This has had little affect on store stock pricing as yet, but buyers should be aware there could be some readjustment soon if overseas market signals flow through.

Silver Fern Farms has won the prestigious most trusted brand award for meat in NZ and are satisfied this vindicates their marketing strategy for meat products



Another week of stable venison schedules, as Deer Industry NZ launches a new deer farming training course to upskill new entrants and workers, to grow the sector in the future.

Venison exports fall to Germany and importers warn that prices are too high, and unreliable year around supply could risk restaurateurs taking the product off the menu.

And competition builds as Scotland plans to expand it’s deer farming industry, amid strong British demand and profitable returns from the existing participants.