NZ venison sale price highest since 1997

18 July 2001

A favourable exchange rate and the unfortunate outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and BSE in Europe combined to lift New Zealand venison sales in Germany to new levels, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Deer Farm Monitoring Report released today.

Venison prices paid to New Zealand producers were at their highest level since 1997. About 90 percent of New Zealand's venison exports go to Europe, with Germany taking more than 50 percent of that total.

Farm monitoring is a process whereby MAF monitors the production, finance, trends, issues and sectors concerns in New Zealand farms. The expectations of farmers, and those servicing the sector are analysed and presented as a model farm. The report highlights the 2000/2001 seasons and forecasts the 2001/2002 season. The views reflect those of the sector, and not necessarily those of MAF.

There are nine farm monitoring reports this year. Five of these are sector specific (deer, sheep and beef, dairying, arable, and horticulture). Four are regional (South, Central South, North and North Central).

Most of New Zealand's production of deer velvet goes to the Republic of Korea. Our deer velvet price is determined by economic changes in ROK, the level of the international deer velvet supply and currency movements.

Farmed deer numbers in New Zealand at June 2001 was estimated to be 2,572,000, 14 percent up on June 2000 estimate, which was up 13 percent on the previous year. Deer numbers are projected to rise more slowly over the next few years due to improved returns for sheep and beef. By June 2004 total deer numbers are projected to rise to 3,310,000.

Total deer velvet production is estimated to have increased by 50,000kg over the year to June 2001. A further increase of 62,000kg is expected in the 2001/2002 season. This will take deer velvet production to 562,000kg.

Deer farming continues to provide a good family living from around 2000 stock units on a relatively small area of farmed land. There is the additional benefit of less work than on an intensive sheep and dairying farm.

Deer farmers report that issues they are concerned about include the impact of deer on the environment, disease control, quality assurance, food safety and traceability. The industry is also concerned about consumer perceptions. Some commentators believe that the intensification of deer farming practices, such as wintering pads (in spite of offering reduced pasture damage and some degree of protection from wet and cold conditions), does not sit well with overseas consumer perceptions of New Zealand farmed deer roaming freely over clean, green, open spaces.

MAF Farm Monitoring Reports can be found on the MAF website at www.maf.govt.nz

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