The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Venison lifts unexpectantly as processors return currency and chilled market gains

DEER

Venison schedules had an unexpected lift this week as supply shortages and good demand in key markets stimulated this early recovery.

Deer Industry NZ reports these gains are shared between currency affects and market gains, primarily due to more product being sold chilled.

There has been positive signs of growth from the new markets outside Europe, namely North America and China, and this has allowed prices to lift in a period that traditionally is at it’s yearly lows.

Weaning will now be well underway on many properties and careful management is needed if stress levels to the freshly weaned animals is minimised.

A management system that sends young animals back to the paddock they came from without their mothers seems to help them settle quicker without fence pacing or stress, and allows them to get them back into high autumn growth rates that is important to reach targets for spring carcass weights.

LAMB

More small drops in schedules this week as the frozen adjustment continues, and with lower processing volumes predicted for February March will result in the later kill needing to be sold in the slow northern hemisphere summer period.

Analysts are picking prices will fall further yet with the shortages of processing stock, but the weather may instead dictate volumes, offered with the dry reappearing in certain areas and numbers may increase if feed gets tighter.

The latest mutton processing statistics show a 30% increase ahead of last year and after years of heavy culling demand for surplus quality breeding animals is strong and ahead of their present productive returns.

The lamb and sheep skins market is still weak and impinging on animal returns with only wool helping to lift prices at the farm gate.

Beef and Lamb NZ now forecast lamb slaughter volumes will be down 6-8% on last year with lower weights also negatively impacting on tonnages of meat sold.

Store lamb prices have remained steady in both islands in spite of falling prime schedules as livestock options remain limited, with store cattle scarce and expensive and beef weaner calf sales yet to commence.

WOOL
The double island wool sale last week disappointed sellers and they passed between 18-23% of the offering, with lambs wool falling again off its highs to now trade for the first time this year, below $7/kg clean.

Crossbred fleece prices have held relatively well for this time of year but are still the best they been for the last 10 years, and are sure to have reignited interest in animals with superior wool genes in recent ram purchases.

BEEF
Another week of stable beef schedules as lower processing numbers from both NZ and Australia compensate for weaker demand out of China.

The important US market continues to lift again on the back of shortages both domestically and imported, but cheap pork and chicken and grain prices will keep any price surge in check.

A lift in local trade schedules reflects the shortages of quality stock, but replacement 18 month store animals are hard to find and are priced well ahead of present prime values.

Beef calf sales are soon to start in Northern saleyards and all market signals point to a bumper season with good weights expected and prices could match break record levels.

Saleyard Prime Steer

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