Meat­works now chas­ing stock

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By JILL GAL­LOWAY

Farm­ers can off­load stock to meat works im­me­di­ately, a ma­jor change from dur­ing the drought when they were wait­ing up to four weeks to get stock killed.

Now the grass is grow­ing there is lit­tle stock com­ing for­ward be­cause farm­ers are not un­der the same feed-pres­sure to get rid of sheep, beef and dairy cat­tle.

At the height of the drought, farm­ers said it could take up to a month to get sheep and cat­tle in to meat works, and the plants were of­ten able to take and process only half the num­bers farm­ers wanted. But that has all changed. Beef + Lamb chair­man Mike Petersen said there was now no wait and many meat works were chas­ing stock for pro­cess­ing.

‘‘At the height of the drought, we saw big num­bers of an­i­mals com­ing for­ward,’’ he said.

‘‘Now farm­ers are down to their over­win­ter­ing num­bers, and the breed­ing stock on farms is well down on usual.’’

Mr Petersen said there was over-ca­pac­ity in the meat in­dus­try for a rea­son and it worked at times of pres­sure (such as dur­ing a drought) and at the peak-kill time.

‘‘But now we’re think­ing what is the cost on the sec­tor of this over-ca­pac­ity?’’ he said.

Mr Petersen said all stock could be killed in 25-30 weeks, if it was a steady flow.

In­dus­try sources said over-ca­pac­ity in the meat in­dus­try was about half, and 20 per cent over-ca­pac­ity would be more rea­son­able and cost-ef­fec­tive.

Mr Petersen said the kill was well ahead of the same time last year.

Lamb is 12 per cent ahead across the whole coun­try and sheep 23 per cent up, and 40 per cent ahead in the North Is­land, as farm­ers have had to kill their breed­ing stock.

And he said 200,000 (40 per cent) more cows had been killed across New Zealand.

In the North Is­land, where the drought was most dam­ag­ing, the beef and dairy cow kill was 48 per cent up on last year.

Mr Petersen said the num­ber of beef steers and heifers killed was on a par with 2012.

There was a short­age of lamb for killing in the South Is­land and the price had gone up.

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers pres­i­dent Bruce Wills said sheep farm­ers were re­ceiv­ing as low as $4.45 a kilo­gram for lamb in the meat sched­ule and al­though this had picked up lately by 20 cents to 30c a kilo­gram, prices were down by at least a third from a year ago.

Fur­ther­more, the in­dus­try was ex­pect­ing the lamb drop to be down by about three mil­lion next sea­son, as fewer hoggets were mated, some ewes were culled dur­ing the drought, and there are likely to be fewer mul­ti­ple births as a re­sult of thin­ner ewes go­ing to the ram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.