Processing update from B+LNZ and the Meat Industry Association: processing capacity snapshot

// Industry

Here is an update on processing capacity across the country and advice on planning ahead for the bobby calf season.

meat processing

Processing capacity across New Zealand is at normal seasonal levels. Across the country, the rate of lamb processing has slowed, as is typical for this time of year.

Cull cow processing is continuing, however there is some pressure on prime beef processing in parts of the country.

Overall, there is not too much pressure on processing as some farmers hold on to their stock to take advantage of the good feed conditions.

Farmers encouraged to consider livestock processing plans ahead of bobby calves season

We’re encouraging farmers to think about their processing plans for the next two months, as we are expecting a capacity squeeze resulting from the influx of bobby calves into plants from mid-July to late August in the North Island and over August and September in the South Island that may prolong the bobby season by a few weeks.

The situation is compounded by the ending of live exports and the additional number of bobby calves expected for processing.

Last year, Fonterra announced a change to its supply conditions to ensure all non-replacement calves enter a value stream by June this year. This will result in significantly more bobby calves requiring processing at plants and will likely extend the season.

The Meat Industry Association, Fonterra and B+LNZ have been working together this year to estimate the potential increase and its impact on capacity so that processing plants can prepare. 

Ultimately, some dairy farmers are likely to have to hold onto bobby calves for longer and may need to invest in additional pens and account for the higher feed costs

Sheep and beef farmers are also encouraged to get their stock away before the start of the bobby calf season in their region, given this could be longer than usual. 

We encourage sheep, beef and dairy farmers to talk to their meat processing company to ensure they’re not caught out by the processing pinch-point in a few weeks.

Advice for farmers

Visit the B+LNZ website and DairyNZ website for more information.

Call 0800 BEEF LAMB (0800 233 352) or 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969)