[2 April/Farmers Weekly]

Less aggressive buying by Unites States manufacturing beef importers put pressure on New Zealand processor margins. American feedlots are well stocked at this time of the year, and importers were aware of the New Zealand supply trends according to Anzco Foods General Manager of Agriculture and Livestock, Grant Bunting. He said this season at this stage was similar to last year. Mr Bunting emphasised that if they thought they could hold off a bit and create an anomaly that helped their pricing, they would do that. NZX Agri Analyst, Rachel Agnew, added that the US market was performing in line with historical trends but the high NZ dollar and procurement prices was hurting processors. She added there was an issue over the forced kill of Mycoplasma bovis animals which could raise total numbers artificially. Bull margins were down 30 percent on last year and the five year average.