A long-running labour dispute at key United States shipping ports is eating away at returns to New Zealand beef farmers.
Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie said massive backlogs and congestion at the ports came at a bad time, with large volumes of beef coming out of both New Zealand and Australia.
"So just having product sitting on the water, or sitting in a container somewhere, or sitting in a cold-store clearly to the importer his costs are going up. And ultimately that's going to reflect back in the price that he's prepared pay the New Zealand exporter.
"And, in turn, if the exporter is in that situation that's going to reflect back through to the meat company schedule...so it's getting pretty tight and the longer it goes on the worse it will get.
"It's not the sort of thing that will just clear overnight," he said.
The primary industry anaylst AgriHQ was reporting the slowdown at the ports wiped six to ten cents a pound off New Zealand lean beef last week alone.