Thursday, August 18, 2022

Venison schedules in line with 5-year average

VENISON schedules have hit the $8 mark, giving farmers a confidence boost heading into April’s weaner season.

The increased prices reflect processors’ recognition of the need for more sustainable venison returns to producers.

Venison schedules have hit the $8 mark, giving farmers a confidence boost heading into April’s weaner season.

It also bodes well for a more positive global outlook.

The upward trending current schedule pricing for AP stags ranging from $7.95-$8.05 a kilogram is up $2.70/kg on this time last year and tracking in line with the five-year average for March of $8.04/kg.

The increased prices reflect processors’ recognition of the need for more sustainable venison returns to producers. 

“This should give finishers and breeders alike a bit of confidence going into the weaner season in April,” First Light general manager venison Matt Gibson said.

Duncan NZ, Silver Fern Farms and the Alliance Group indicate they expect schedules to stabilise now at about the $8 mark through to the chilled season in spring.

Alliance Group sales manager Terry O’Connell said this will be an upside for spring-supplied animals.

The industry focus is on consolidating the current position and building momentum with additional value initiatives, such as the retail programmes in China and the US.

These initiatives, together with the recovery in the foodservice sector, will underpin improved prices, O’Connell said.

Silver Fern Farms (SFF) global sales manager Peter Robinson expects exporters will continue to face a disrupted and problematic global supply chain for some time yet.

“Daily disruptions are nearly the new business as usual,” Robinson said.

“Shipping capacity, vessel schedules, port productivity and land-side infrastructure all remain congested and disrupted in every country and across every trade lane globally.

“We’ve continued to work hard at building new markets, new customer segments and new products, all of which increase optionality and reduce the volatility venison has historically seen.”

The company continues to see good demand out of China and Robinson said expectation is that China will prove to be a pivotal market for growth, value-add and innovation in the venison category in the years ahead.

The latest SFF newsletter update to farmers predicts the outlook for chilled in-spec premiums of 50c-$1/kg to peak mid-August to mid-September, with the outlook for next main season pricing starting around $8, with intention to build from there.

“We have successfully moved frozen market values up over the current main season to now sit around $8/kg farm gate,” he said.

“This has been achieved with significant market diversification and other initiatives and we are cautiously optimistic we can build additional frozen value over the next season.”

Chilled venison programmes for August to October supply are still very much anchored in Europe around the traditional game season foodservice trade.

“We achieved good recovery in chilled values on steady volumes for the 2021 season, however, we and others are cautious about putting extra price pressure into this channel,” he said.

European fine dining recovery is still susceptible to any future covid waves and restriction, while the Ukraine conflict is creating concerns in Western Europe around economic stability, inflation and consumer discretionary spending impact. 

Processors are wary of creating a non-sustainable boom-bust cycle with continued restaurant menu placement being a critical stability factor.

Meanwhile, the EU Venison market is steering a similar course to lamb in that both demand and pricing remains consistent, with no disruption being seen yet as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Business into North America continues to follow its traditional course with chilled sales remaining limited in volume, with pricing continuing to outshine most other global options.

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