Venison prices on the move

European market prices for chilled New Zealand venison are reported to be up about five per cent on last year, with exporters hopeful of reduced competition from European game meat supplies. But prices to farmers are currently being held back by a stronger New Zealand dollar.

Venison exporters have recently indicated they see the venison schedule potentially reaching $8 per kg for 55-60 kg AP stags. This would be similar to the 2012 national average published schedule peak of $7.95/kg and much better than last year’s peak of $7.40/kg.

The main factor restraining prices to farmers at this point in the traditional chilled game meat season is currency, with the Kiwi dollar 8.4 percent stronger against the Euro than at the same time last year. This is reflected in an average schedule that is seven percent weaker.

The spring schedule peak runs through to the end of October. That allows time for the last animals to be processed by the beginning of November and shipped to Europe for consumption over the Christmas/New Year period.

Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup says the fundamentals of the European market are looking better, with other red meats steady or firm in price and reports that wild shot game may be less available than last year. There are also anecdotes that some chefs who bought cheaper European shot venison found they had made a mistake … that the superior quality of New Zealand venison justified its higher price.

“Price trends for game meats in Europe are not directly linked to sheepmeat and beef prices, but if beef prices are firming, it makes it easier to sell venison at a good price. The reverse also applies,”  says Coup.

“A wild card is the possible impact of EU sanctions in response to Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine civil war. This has consequences for the supply of protein in the European market, and risks impeding economic growth through restricting trade with Russia.”

The leg cuts, loins and some other items like rolled shoulder roasts are exported chilled each season. Cuts from non-eligible animals and manufacturing type products go into the frozen game meat trade. New Zealand chilled loins and legs are currently selling at a premium over frozen of €5/kg and €3/kg respectively … this premium is the driver of the spring schedule price in New Zealand.

Coup believes improved access to China is likely to have a firming influence on prices to farmers in due course.

“It’s early days, but it is reasonable to expect that the access approvals given to all our major export plants will provide them with a more direct route to Chinese buyers of tails, pizzles, sinews and other co-products. Already, exporters are reporting inquiry from Chinese buyers interested in lower value venison cuts. Given the size of the potential market, even a small increase in demand could have a big influence on prices.”

Supplied by DINZ.

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