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The Deer Farmer Sunday 22nd February, 2009
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PPCS Burnside To Close

20-05-2008 | webmaster

The announcement this week by PPCS that it's probably closing its largest venison processing facility - Burnside just outside Dunedin - isn't a big surprise. PPCS signalled in October 2007, when Alliance rejected a proposal to merge the two co-ops, that it would proceed with its own strategies, including right-sizing its facilities to create a better match with its supply base and overseas customer requirements. Clearly something had to give.
The Burnside facility is old - the original sheep and beef plant was built in 1882 and closed in the 1980s. The venison chain was installed in the building that housed the former beef plant, in 1992. The company developed Burnside into a facility that could process 200 to 250 deer a day, with double shifts during the peak season taking that up to around 400 a day, equating to 55,000 deer a year. Product has been frozen on-site or sent to nearby Silverstream to be chilled. By products have also been sent to Silverstream for further processing.
As Chief Executive Keith Cooper pointed out, it will cost several million to pay redundancies and so on, but the company will soon recoup that with the sale of 57ha of land. PPCS will also make a saving by no longer having to meet regulatory requirements to maintain large areas of the facility that it wasn't using any more.
The other part of the picture, of course, is the down-sizing of deer farming in New Zealand. Altogether, farmers are decreasing their deer numbers by a third on the 2006 season, to about 500,000 this coming season.

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