No rea­son found for rise in bobby calf kill

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

New Zealand’s bobby calf kill was up nearly 10 per cent this spring com­pared to last year, just when beef prices look headed for a sus­tained pick up.

There seems to be no one rea­son for the sig­nif­i­cant rise in un­wanted calves sent for pro­cess­ing, as re­ported to Beef + Lamb NZ by the coun­try’s meat com­pa­nies.

In­dus­try ob­servers at­tribute the in­crease to any­thing from a 1.7 per cent or 90,000-head in­crease in the na­tional dairy calv­ing herd this sea­son, to dairy farm­ers’ need for more cash in a sharply lower pay­out year, to in­creased com­pe­ti­tion in the calf pro­cess­ing sec­tor push­ing prices higher.

Beef+ Lamb economist Rob Dav­i­son said 2.07 mil­lion calves were culled in the year ended Septem­ber, up 9.8 per cent on the com­pa­ra­ble pe­riod last year, and beat­ing his in­dus­try or­gan­i­sa­tion’s 1.98 mil­lion.

The calf kill was up 12.5 per cent in the South Is­land on last sea­son and up 8 per cent in the North Is­land, Dav­i­son said.

The num­ber of dairy cows which calved this sea­son rose by an es­ti­mated 90,000 cows to 5.09 mil­lion. But in­dus­try ob­servers said that did not fully ex­plain the jump in calves sent to meat pro­ces­sors, es­pe­cially when beef re­turns have im­proved.

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