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Prices drop for sheep and beef farmers

PRICES paid to sheep and beef cattle farmers and meat manufacturers both fell sharply in the March 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said this week.

Sheep, beef, and grain farmers received 11.5 percent less for their products in the March quarter, reversing rises over most of 2019.

In turn, prices paid to meat manufacturers were down 4.4 percent in the March quarter.

“The sharp fall in prices for sheep and beef farming in the first three months of 2020 coincided with dry conditions in many parts of New Zealand, with sheep and beef prices falling,” business prices acting manager Geoffrey Wong said.

“Farmers were reported to be sending stock off to meatworks early because of the drought.

“We also saw some supermarket meat prices fall in March, with lower prices for lamb chops, beef sausages, and beef mince,” Mr Wong said.

The farm expenses price index also shows prices to buy livestock fell 2.4 percent in the March 2020 quarter, while fuel prices also fell (down 6 percent) in the quarter.

Overall, prices paid by farmers for a range of goods and services were unchanged in the quarter, with livestock and fuel prices offset by rises elsewhere.

Livestock prices were also a key contributor to the drop in overall costs faced by businesses, Mr Wong said.