Flood culled beef goes to US

South Waikato News - - Farming - EL­TON RIKIHANA SMALLMAN

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.

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