Talk in the province is that the company has decided to restart the shift this season after a four year break, following the decision by Alliance Group Ltd to close the sheep and lamb chain at nearby Mataura.
The Waitane plant is at Gore, just a few kilometres from Mataura. Many of the Alliance Mataura workers, needing to choose between redundancy or shifting to the Lorneville plant about an hour away, live in Gore.
Cooper didn’t mention Waitane but said SFF was doing its planning for the new season at the moment, with a sales team in Europe and farmers having the paper work for their livestock numbers.
“We’ll look at the livestock and the market requirements and work out the right capacity in the right place for the new season. There are no conclusions yet.’’
Every company plant had a lot of options, depending on livestock demand.
In Southland, farmers are tailing lambs at the moment and SFF expected to have the supply tallies available over the next two to three weeks.
“It has been a good lambing season and no major event impacting on that, but the tailing numbers are critical to our assessments.’’
Estimates are for about one million extra lambs nationally this season, which will help those farmers with higher numbers to offset lower prices. Those extra numbers, about 5% up on last season, wouldn’t have any negative effect on the market place, Cooper said.