Home' Otago Southland Farmer : December 14th 2012 Contents 14.12.12 Farmer
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Greeline Welcomes the Next Generation
Waitane meatworks gets upgrade
X-ray scanning to enable farmers to better meet carcass requirements
By DIANE BISHOP
Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper looks at
the new X-ray technology with Waitane plant manager
Director voted in again
Silver Fern Farms director Angus Mabin was re-elected unopposed at
the company's annual meeting in Winton last Wednesday. About 40
people attended the meeting at the Hideaway.
Chairman Eoin Garden said the format of the annual meetings had
changed because the company wanted to engage its rural supplier
''We're taking the meetings out to the regions,'' he said.
Lamb prices tipped to rise
The lamb schedule will return to its previous high but it could take 18
months to two years.
Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper said it would take a
while to claw back the $6 to $7/kg schedule with the current schedule
around $4.80 to $5.80/kg this season.
''The price was too high last year and we oversupplied the market, but
demand (for lamb) has returned,'' he said.
Mr Cooper said getting the supply and demand balance right was a
Mutton prices were currently averaging $2.60 to $2.90/kg while beef
had climbed to $3.60 to $4.20/kg with bulls now worth more than
''Farmers are in a sweet spot to capitalise on the higher beef prices.''
Deer remained a high-value product at around $6.70 to $8/kg.
Silver Fern Farms has injected
more than $2 million into X-ray
and yield management tech-
nology at its Waitane plant, near
In doing so the company has
signalled its confidence in the
sheepmeat industry in Eastern
Southland despite its main rival,
the Alliance Group, transferring
sheep and lamb processing from
nearby Mataura to Lorneville this
Silver Fern Farms chief executive
Keith Cooper was ''absolutely
confident'' the investment in
Waitane would pay off with new
suppliers signing up this season.
''There's a lot more lambs out
''We've also got clear indications
that suppliers are supporting our
strategy,'' Mr Cooper said.
About 100 suppliers attended
Waitane's open day last
Wednesday showcased the $2
million investment the company
had made in X-ray and yield
The Waitane plant, which is
expected to process about 600,000
sheep, lambs and bobby calves
this season, was the last of the
company's 23 processing facilities
to benefit from X-ray technology.
Mr Cooper said X-ray grading
would directly benefit local South-
land suppliers by giving them the
information to produce and
deliver lambs that best suit
Depending on carcass specifi-
cation, the technology had the
potential to add between $2 and $5
per lamb, he said.
Mr Cooper said the X-ray grading
system was also integrated with
other technologies introduced as
part of the Waitane upgrade
including radio frequency identi-
fication tag readers stationed
throughout the plant for data
Silver Fern Farms chairman Eoin
Garden said he had confidence in
Eastern Southland, but it was up
to the community to make
''It's your local plant. You guys
''We can invest in the plant but it
needs to be used,'' he said.
The Waitane plant employs about
275 staff at the peak of the
processing season and processes
lamb, mutton, bobby veal and
Mr Cooper said the staff were
''immensely proud'' of the recent
technology enhancements at the
plant, which serves suppliers
from Waipahi to Wyndham and
Te Anau to Bluff.
As part of Silver Fern Farms'
commitment to the wider Gore
community, Mr Garden presented
a $10,000 donation to the Gore Fire
The funds would be used to
support an initiative already
under way to educate people
about the risks of fires while
cooking and how to prevent and
extinguish them should they
Silver Fern Farms' contribution
will enable the brigade to
complete the fit-out of a mobile
kitchen demonstration trailer
which is due for completion in
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