Aiming for $10 for venison this Spring

Mar 16, 2023

A spring peak price of $10/kg is being indicated by some of the venison marketers, who are all working hard in the tri-market development model to create stable demand for venison.

Activities being undertaken by venison companies to get more value into the venison schedule were among the deer farming issues raised in the DINZ Board’s February meetings with NZDFA’s South Canterbury & North Otago and Canterbury West Coast branches.

The national average farmgate price for February was $8.95 for AP stags, 17 percent above the same month in 2022. This week’s published venison prices are between $8.65-$8.95/kg – 10 percent above the five-year national average for March.

“The lack of the normal easing of the venison price is a result of stronger sales into Europe and more year-round shipments of venison into less seasonal markets, plus anticipated higher pricing later in the year,” DINZ noted in a letter after the meeting.

The NZDFA branches were told venison exporters expect a steady rise in venison prices over 2023 and are indicating spring schedules above last year. 

“Some venison company staff have spoken to suppliers indicating a minimum spring peak of $10/kg could be achieved,” DINZ said. Others, while “very confident of improving prices” chose not to indicate prices as spring schedules were dependent on factors like currency.

Venison companies have indicated “steady, permanent increases in venison prices” will be achieved through pursuing the tri-market diversification model: “A third to the US, a third to Europe and a third to China and other markets.”

The venison companies are well aware of deer farmers’ need for “returns of $12/kg” to restore confidence in venison production.

“The intention of the market diversification approach is to hit those levels through creation of stable demand,” DINZ noted.

Work by farm consultant Wayne Allen in 2022 on comparative farm profitability indicated that with the lamb schedule running at $8 to $9 per kg, venison then needed to be at $9.50-10.50/kg. The venison schedule needed to be running on a weighted average of $11.50-$12.35/kg to be competitive with velvet production.

The current schedule for lamb is sitting between $6.00-7.00/kg. While lamb marketers will be confident it has reached the bottom, and will recover again, it shows the pressures currently at play in the global marketplace.

Aiming for the $10/kg spring peak this year for venison will be an improvement on 2022 and will lead to further improvement the following year which, DINZ said: “will build farmers’ confidence that venison can compete with other land use options.”

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