Flood culled beef goes to US
Flood ravaged farmers are sending animals to slaughter but don’t expect the price of your favourite scotch fillet, prime rib or brisket to be any cheaper at the butcher.
Local retail supply goes unaffected flood culled beef is destined for US appetites, Agrihq analyst Rachel Agnew said.
‘‘That’s manufacturing beef (ground beef) that all goes to the United States and none of it is consumed domestically,’’ Agnew said.
The country was hit by flooding after two major weather events in April - extropical cyclones Debbie and Cook.
The Bay of Plenty district and the town of Edgecumbe with 600 homes wore the brunt of Debbie when the Rangitaiki River burst it’s banks on April 6.
A week later, and over the Easter break, the already saturated lower reaches of the Waikato River and Hauraki District succumbed to Cook leaving paddocks inundated and farmers scrambling to move stock.
About 2000 cows in Waikato and more than 5000 in the Bay of Plenty have been dried off for the season or culled.
‘‘Slaughter rates have increased over the last couple of weeks through the processors and the weather has pushed that forward because most would have likely continued to milk a bit later given the good feed situation,’’ Agnew said.
But slaughter rates have increased across the entire North Island, Agnew said. There are multiple factors at play, not just the floods.
‘‘It’s just the time of year where people start making cow cull decisions. You can’t attribute the entire increase to the flooding.’’
Ohinewai farmer and chairman of the Waikato, Hauraki and Coromandel Rural Support Trust Neil Bateup said damage from the April floods in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and other parts of the country have quickened the need for farmers to send cows to the meatworks.
Farmers he’s been in touch with have plans in place to deal with lost pasture but those destocking will lose the last month of milk production before winter.