Guy Trafford updates the recent price, schedule, and regulatory changes in the dairy and red meat sectors

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By Guy Trafford

DAIRY
Farmers and processors alike will be a little nervous that the Global Dairy Trade auction had yet another drop in its average bench mark price, a -1.7% drop on the previous auction results.

Whole Milk Powder (WMP) and Skim Milk Powder (SMP) bucked the trend with lifts of 1.5% and 0.8% respectively. The big loser was butter with a -8.1% drop.

The drop in the last GDT (July3rd) some blamed on the US China trade tensions which certainly haven’t gone away, although between New Zealand, Australia and Europe China still has plenty of options for supply. The series of falls in the GDT certainly won’t be helping the $7 farm gate price however with the US$ working in New Zealand’s favour it is too early to start predicting a drop in the 2018-19 forecasts.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has just announced that the second round of nationwide bulk testing for mycoplasma bovis is about to start in the North Island. With the North Island dairy calving date generally a couple of weeks ahead of the South Island, farmers in this region can be expecting to be notified shortly that they will be expected to follow suit.

The time taken to test the samples is considerable and North Island farmers will not be notified if they are clear until November 1st and for the South Island it won’t be until mid-November.

Farms with a positive test will be notified immediately the test is confirmed. Unfortunately, with the disease very difficult to test for a negative result does not mean that a herd is clear, but just no mycoplasma bovis detected. For those who have been following the writings of Keith Woodford on the interest.co.nz site will be well aware that the ‘false negatives’ are only one issue of concern when dealing with the disease and he believes that there is increasing evidence that the disease has been here prior to 2014 and may even go back as far as 2008. If he is correct in his assumptions then the disease may have spread far wider than previously thought, at least by MPI.

In the last week or so at least two more farms have been confirmed with the disease – one in the Wairarapa, a sheep and beef property and the second in North Canterbury which is a dairy farm. These farms bring the total of farms that have been confirmed to 54 of which 13 have been cleared so far.  

SHEEP
Saleyard prices for sheep have been holding well on limited numbers. A lift of 10 cents in the lamb schedule has rewarded those farmers prepared to take lambs on to higher weights.

WOOL
The first wool sale of the new season took place last week at Napier and unfortunately continued the trend that the previous season finished on with prices falling back somewhat. A lack of the finer end tends to keep the North Island behind South Island wool so this week’s South Island sale will reveal whether the trend keeps extending to the finer clips.

BEEF
Both prime steer and heifers as well as cow received a lift this week. Driven likely by limited supply and the US dollar holding below .67 cents.

DEER
The second South Island processor has lifted Venison by 10 cents to close the gap between the two major processors to only 10 cents. Generally, with lamb and beef the North Island commands quite a premium over the South Island, however, venison bucks this trend with a 55 cent higher price in the South over the North Island.

Dairy prices

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Source: GlobalDairyTrade and USDA

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Source: GlobalDairyTrade and USDA

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