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Tuesday, 21 April 2020 07:25

Worries over kill time delays

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Fed Farmer’s national president Katie Milne says farmers are still worried about processing times at meat plants. Fed Farmer’s national president Katie Milne says farmers are still worried about processing times at meat plants.

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says farmers are still worried about the processing times at meat plants.

While things are moving, farmers are concerned about the longer wait times. 

However, they are applauding the work carried out at meat plants under COVID-19 lockdown rules.

“It has been a great effort by those at the plants to keep throughput going under new distancing protocols,” Milne told Rural News.

“Some worked over the Easter holidays which was unheard of previously…. I can’t thank them enough for going the extra mile to help keep things moving as we come into winter.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) recently released their latest assessment of processing capacity across the country: the potential impact on waiting times for farmers due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 meat processing protocol, which requires physical distancing between plant employees to prevent the spread of the virus, has reduced the industry’s processing capacity by approximately 50% for sheep and 30% for cattle.

The assessment shows further delays in lamb processing in the South Island in April and May with processing being pushed back at least a further week: farmers expecting a four-week wait before the protocol would now face a five-week wait.

By the end of May that extra week backlog should be cleared. In the North Island, the analysis does not forecast further delays on top of what farmers are currently experiencing.

Milne says farmers are also concerned around supplies of parts and components for machinery that may break down. 

“Restocking of parts and efficient back loading are still an issue as things deemed nonessential can’t be carried.”

Gypsy Day, coming up on June 1, also remains an issue. 

“We are working things out make sure this can go ahead safely,” says Milne.

A taskforce comprising Federated Farmers, Ministry of Primary Industries, DairyNZ and other stakeholders are working on Gypsy Day measures.

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