Sunday, August 14, 2022

Venison processors juggle capacity due to Omicron

Moving animals off-farm and prioritising animal welfare is the focus for deer farmers, as venison processors struggle with capacity.

Moving animals off-farm is the focus for Silver Fern Farms, where suppliers across all species are experiencing delays.

Moving animals off-farm and prioritising animal welfare is the focus for deer farmers, as venison processors struggle with capacity.

The latest Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) news reports Omicron-induced staff absences have led to a slowdown in processing.

But pre-outbreak planning with companies working closely with local health authorities has minimised the potential impact.

First Light Foods venison production was impacted when Venison Packers’ Feilding plant was forced to close completely for a relatively short, sharp period, reducing capacity by about a third, First Light general manager venison Matt Gibson said.

Farmers have been advised to book space well in advance, focus on good animal welfare, especially during transport, and be prepared to hold stock on-farm for longer.

Moving animals off-farm is the focus for Silver Fern Farms, where suppliers across all species are experiencing delays.

Group sales manager Peter Robinson says the company’s priority is addressing any areas of potential animal welfare risk and supporting fully shared and valued suppliers.

Mountain River Processing is operating as best it can and reviewing weekly, general manager John Sadler said.

Alliance sales manager Terry O’Connell reports there will be disruption to numbers processed over the next week or so but at this stage, the impact is not too significant.

Processing is continuing at good levels at Duncan NZ, even though throughput has eased as the management team manages balancing employee and public safety with continued production, filling customers’ orders and building on new market development work.

Farming under current pressures can be tough and farmers are encouraged to seek support from the Rural Support Trusts if it all seems a bit much.

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