Billions of dollars could be saved through red meat industry rationalisation and consolidation, a report commissioned by Meat Industry Excellence says.
Meat Industry Excellence has slammed Alliance Group for rejecting the nomination of Fonterra director John Monaghan in its upcoming director elections, saying it shows why the sheep and beef industry is in ''such a mess''.
Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) says it is ''shifting the gears of reform'' in the red meat sector following recent meetings with industry leaders.
New Zealand's sheepmeat sector must retain sufficient scale and market presence to be able to capitalise as conditions improve in established export markets, a newly released Rabobank report says.
Meat Industry Excellence is continuing its push for red meat industry reform, having secured a farmer mandate for change.
Organisers of a red meat industry meeting in Christchurch tomorrow are seeking a written mandate from farmers, including a possible commitment to a new entity.
The newly formed Meat Industry Excellence Group says its initial focus is on gaining a national mandate from farmers for industry change.
The message might constantly be given, and it has been reiterated recently by Beef and Lamb NZ chairman Mike Petersen, that those in the business of food production remain in the ''box seat'' for future prosperity.
Meat Industry Association chairman Bill Falconer believes the red meat sector strategy has been "settling down extremely well" since its launch 14 months ago.
A $23.7 million programme to produce high-value marbled beef for premium markets was announced by Ministry for Primary Industries director-general Wayne McNee yesterday, during the Red Meat Sector conference in Queenstown.
Former Meat and Wool New Zealand and New Zealand Meat Board chairman Jeff Grant believes meat companies Alliance Group and Silver Fern Farms should jointly establish a wool marketing entity.
Alliance Group's Sockburn meat-processing plant in Christchurch would close at the end of the 2012 processing season, affecting about 250 jobs, the company confirmed yesterday.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association have welcomed the prospect of a closer trade partnership with Taiwan, saying it is a key export beef market and also a significant sheep meat market.
New Zealand export beef production is forecast to lift 3% in the 2011-12 season to 588,000 tonnes, of which 70% will come from prime cattle production, Rabobank's latest beef quarterly says.
Silver Fern Farms' acquisition of the Frasertown sheep processing plant, near Wairoa in northern Hawkes Bay, shows the company's "absolute confidence" in the sheepmeat sector, chairman Eoin Garden says.
Alliance Group expects world meat protein markets to remain strong next year, with lamb prices expected to stay at "$100 plus".
Former National MP Katherine Rich and primary sector leader Graeme Milne have been appointed independent members of the red meat sector strategy's co-ordinating group.
Demand for New Zealand meat and meat products might be good for farmers - but it is posing challenges for rural butchers, Federated Farmers rural butchers chairman Mike Hanson says.
Exports of red meat "co-products" are offering increasingly important market diversity, contributing a $1 billion boost to the agricultural sector last year.
While a significant lift is expected in the number of lambs born this year, it will take "years" to get back to previous levels, New Zealand Meat Workers Union Otago-Southland secretary Gary Davis says.