Higher NZ lamb production to kick off 2015-16 season

08 January 2016

In the second month of the new season (October 2015 to September 2016), lamb production in New Zealand (NZ) for November was 23% higher than year-ago levels, at 29,076 tonnes cwt (Statistics New Zealand).

Production in the North Island for November rose 24% year-on-year, at 15,595 tonnes cwt, the South Island also saw substantial growth, up 22%, at 13,481 tonnes cwt. For the first two months of the new season (October and November), lamb production has reached 56,431 tonnes cwt – up 10% on the corresponding period the previous year.

Underpinning the higher November production was a 25% year-on-year increase in NZ lamb slaughter, at 875,832 head. For the first two months of the season, 1.6 million lambs were processed – a 14% jump on year-ago volumes.

As reported by AgriHQ and the NZ Meat Board, due to the substantially higher slaughter in the beginning of the new season, kill figures are forecast to tighten towards the end of 2016.

NZ lamb exports in November increased 23% on the corresponding period the previous year, at 22,912 tonnes swt. This growth was largely underpinned by continuing demand for lamb from destinations such as China, the US, and the UK – which experienced considerable increases in shipments in the first two months of the season, compared to year-ago volumes.

For the first two months of the 2015-16 season (October and November), compared to the previous year, NZ lamb shipments to:

  • China totalled 12,758 tonnes swt – up 20%
  • the UK were 8,817 tonnes swt – up 57%
  • the US totalled 3,274 tonnes swt – up 20%
  • Germany were 1,615 tonnes swt – up 13%
  • the Netherlands were 2,395 tonnes swt – up 18% 

Interestingly, AgriHQ highlight that despite higher exports at the beginning of the season, demand in international lamb markets towards the end of 2015 was somewhat subdued. Despite orders in China being filled beyond the Chinese New Year period, volumes are limited and prices are reportedly lower than current market levels.

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