Friday, December 8, 2023

Ten-dollar tag has venison sales looking up

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All top five venison companies are above $10 a kilogram for September and October.
Deer specialist Ron Schroeder says breeders coming off the back of two hard years are now connecting with a softer finishing market.
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Venison markets are tracking up, sparking cautious optimism in the deer industry.

While for much of the year the venison price has held stable at just under $9 a kilogram, a positive forecast indicates it will hold out at above $10 through until the end of 2023.

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) chief executive Innes Moffat said all top five companies are above $10 for chilled product through September and October. This is up on the price of around $9 this time last year.

While the processors each have their own strategies and plans, Moffat said they are all in the same ballpark with the higher pricing consistent across the markets and a reflection of good demand for European chilled product. 

There are also solid sales in China and North America as the food sector recovers, and retail is growing.  

“Demand from the growing United States and other markets such as China continues to mitigate seasonal reliance on Europe.

“Companies are looking to build on the returns we are getting with the opportunity to add more value into co-products helping to get improved overall carcase value.

“This means a higher, more stable schedule and return back to farmers.”

John Sadler of Canterbury-based Mountain River Processing said the markets are stable and demand is good for NZ venison but unfortunately quantities are reduced.

“We have got good solid markets for the product and markets are growing but with a production decrease, supply and demand will need to be carefully managed.

“Our chilled contract pricing is clearly over the $10 mark and we are aiming for $9.50 as our premium schedule price though until the end of May 2024,” Sadler said.

Duncan NZ marketing manager Chris Duncan said as venison markets continue to recover, chilled European prices have improved on last season. 

“The US market remains stable with venison pricing and demand holding steady, amidst challenging market conditions that have seen beef and lamb prices soften in recent months.

“Our venison pricing is in line with the current markets,” Duncan said.

Venison processors are generally working on a current chilled price range of $9.75-$10.30 and forecasting opening season schedule pricing from $8.70-$9.20.

Silver Fern Farms general manager livestock Jarrod Stewart said there is still uncertainty around the current trends with some challenges across key markets.

Sales for the European chilled game season production period have concluded, at least for those volumes heading to market via sea freight. 

“We continue to concentrate our efforts on procuring interest and sales for the airfreight supply period.”

With the availability of flights and the costs of airfreight improving, customers are looking harder at this as an option to increase their chilled volumes to service this consumption period.

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