Livestock Market Update: Velvet selling season draws to a close
This season’s velvet sales conclude in mid-April.
Average prices achieved by deer farmers for velvet this year are around $105 per kilogram net, compared to $128 per kilogram last season. Despite that reduction the industry is generally buoyant, with most trends going in the right direction, including production, which is increasing at a rate of 10 per cent per annum. Farmers are producing better velvet throughout the age groups, with both an increase in the weight produced, and an improvement in quality.
Grading guidelines will be subject to review over the coming months, enabling better descriptions and images for buyers and sellers. More multi-pointed heads are now in the system as spikers, or yearlings, and adults, which are producing much thicker velvet. Some producers perceive these animals having more actively growing velvet around the antler tips as an advantage. However, for the end user or processor, that translates to greater difficulty in manufacturing a product suitable for consumption with less true tip area, and possibly a compromise in the resulting quality.
Seasonal histories, tracking the performance of the velvet produced by individual clients, will be sent out during May. Over the coming months, growers will also receive more information about implementing the VelTrak tagging system, which uses a UHF chip enabling velvet to be rapidly tracked up or down the supply chain, confirming provenance, validating the integrity of New Zealand’s production systems, and further entrenching the strong reputation our velvet has established in Korea and China.
Tony Cochrane, PGG Wrightson National Velvet Manager