Market shocks

A Waikato livestock regional manager worries about the potential impacts on the value of the stock in the domestic market because there will be an oversupply outstripping demand. As well as a lot more bobby calves that the sector will need to find an alternative for. 

There are three types of farmers when it comes to exporting livestock from New Zealand. There are the ones who farm towards it, the ones who will consider it if the timing suits and the ones who do not want a bar of it. And Ollie Carruthers from New Zealand Farmers Livestock deals with them all.

He saw the boom in the late 1990s when China was hungry for livestock. Then it fizzled out for a bit but their appetite has taken off recently creating a seller’s market.

“Sometimes farmers are getting almost double for their stock than they would on the domestic market,” Ollies says.

“There are so many companies operating and they have started staggering shipments too which gives farmers plenty of options. With one going almost any month of the year they can make the timing work for their system even if it’s not with their preferred exporter.”

He loves dealing with farmers and he is frustrated to see the export industry shut down.

Finding solutions

“My role is finding solutions for farmers when they’ve got stock to sell, and in the past four or five years, the livestock export market has really ramped up.”

“But we haven’t got the room in New Zealand for all the extra animals we’re going to have without export as an option.”

Ollie has been involved in the livestock trading industry since 1993. He started as a stock clerk, which was the apprentice role, straight from school and has always been based in Morrinsville. Finding solutions for his clients is what he loves the most about his role but he struggles to see what options could replace livestock exporting.

“We are all going to have to think a little differently to try to come up with solutions for the farmers who have traditionally been targeting export. I’m advising farmers to look at their dairy beef options and target what the domestic market is after.”

“And I think some of the land-use changes coming may help with reducing stock numbers but the reality is we will always have more than we need unless there are some creative innovations developed.”

“But we haven’t got the room in New Zealand for all the extra animals we’re going to have without export as an option.”
Ollie Carruthers

This story was first published in the November 2021 issue of Dairy Farmer magazine.


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