December NZ cattle production eases after fast start to the season

25 February 2016

New Zealand (NZ) adult cattle production decreased (12%) on year-ago levels, to 58,080 tonnes cwt (statistics New Zealand), bringing the yearly total to 655,246 tonnes cwt (up 5% on 2014).

The North Island saw the most significant decline in the third month of the new season – down 14% year-on-year to 43,565 tonnes cwt. South Island production slipped 4% on year-ago levels, to 14,515 tonnes cwt. This season-to-date (October-December), cattle production was 148,879 tonnes cwt – representing a 3% decrease on the corresponding period the year before.

With NZ cattle availability following a similar path to that of the Australian supply situation at present, adult cattle slaughter numbers in December saw a 12% decrease year-on-year, to 212,548 head. For the first three months of the new season, adult cattle slaughter totalled 557,301 head – back 3% on the same time the previous year.

Unsurprisingly, NZ beef exports in December also declined - down 2% to 37,373 tonnes swt (Beef + Lamb NZ - BLNZ). An easing in shipments was registered in major areas such as the US and Japan, however increased volumes of beef were seen in to other countries such as Taiwan, Canada, and China

In the latest forecasts released in the BLNZ New Season Outlook, the relaxation of beef trade restrictions on Brazilian and US beef in China may result an increase in competition in that market. With total NZ beef exports forecast to decline (5%) in the new season and competing countries (such as Brazil and the US) gaining further market access, it is likely that shipments to China will be affected.

For the first three months of the 2015-2016 season (October- December), NZ beef exports to:

  • The US decreased 15%, to 17,957 tonnes swt
  • China increased 85%, to 6,934 tonnes swt
  • Canada increased 232%, to 2,080 tonnes swt
  • Japan decreased 50%, to 1,305 tonnes swt
  • The Middle East decreased 19%, to 842 tonnes swt

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