Venison prices on track

Jun 17, 2022

Venison has been hit hardest by Covid-19 and when will prices fully recover? That was the main topic of the DINZ Board Q&A session, chaired by chair Dr Ian Walker in Palmerston North. Recovery is happening, but the work of lifting sustainably away from commodity markets needs to continue, deer farmers heard.

Dr Ian Walker (left), who will step down later this year after five years as DINZ chair and six years on the board, fronted with two other Board directors for the Q&A session. Also pictured are (left to right) Tony Cochrane of PGG Wrightson and First Light Foods’ group managing director Gerard Hickey and general manager venison Matt Gibson.

To provide some examples of a venison schedule that is needed, DINZ had engaged an agricultural consultant to do some comparative profitability analysis on South Island moderate country to put to venison marketers. This put the venison farmgate prices on a $10.50-$11.00 track to equate with recent high lamb prices, DINZ CEO Innes Moffat explained.

“This is obviously significantly higher than the current schedule, but that didn’t scare the marketers,” he said. “If we carry on with adding value, through getting away from the commodity end of the business, it’s within reach,” he said.

“As the marketing programmes develop more targeted niches, we’re getting closer to our consumers and I believe those higher returns are coming back to us as producers,” noted DINZ board director and First Light group managing director Gerard Hickey.

Closing the gap “a lot more” between frozen and chilled prices will help. As will the sector’s market diversification strategy, which is working to lift prices.

“Previously when we’ve seen a $11-12 schedule, it’s on the back of a booming European commodity market, which means it’s not sustainable,” First Light’s Matt Gibson, noted, suggesting deer farmers work with their processor’s diversification strategy.

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