Here’s another update on livestock processing from the Meat Industry Association, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers.
In the North Island, we are nearing the peak processing period for bobby calves and volumes appear similar to last year.
Processing capacity is lower than last season due to labour shortages at plants and this is creating some delays for farmers, who may need to wait a few extra days to have their calves collected.
Some companies are rolling out or piloting bobby calf booking apps to streamline the process and provide greater visibility for farmers, transporters and processing plants. Others are only accepting calves from existing suppliers and shareholders and asking farmers to give a few days notice when booking calves in for processing.
The situation is compounded by the extremely wet weather across much of the country and a lack of slink skin operations.
Processors are working hard to catch up in the next few weeks and in some cases have diverted processing capacity from lambs to bobby calves.
The South Island is around three weeks behind the North Island at this stage, which is typical and reflects the different climate conditions between the two islands. We expect similar bobby calf processing challenges to arise in the South Island over the coming weeks.
We are encouraging farmers still with lambs on farm to speak with their livestock representatives to ensure they are not impacted by the processing capacity squeeze.
Dairy farmers in the South Island are urged to prepare for some delays and ensure they have contingency plans in place such as sufficient pen space to hold more calves for longer.
Advice for farmers
Talk to your key advisors, neighbours and friends.
Call 0800 BEEF LAMB (0800 233 352), 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969) or 0800 327 646 (0800 FARMING).