NZ beef exports strong start to the new season

08 January 2016

New Zealand (NZ) adult cattle production in November increased slightly (1%) on year-ago levels, to 54,344 tonnes cwt (Statistics New Zealand).

Across the country, adult cattle production saw mixed trends in November. The North Island registered continued growth in the second month of the new season, up 5% year-on-year to 41,492 tonnes cwt, while production in the South Island eased 11%, to 12,852 tonnes cwt. For the season-to-date (October-November), total NZ cattle production has reached 90,798 tonnes cwt – a 4% increase on the corresponding period the year prior.

Underpinned by dry conditions, high beef prices and low milk prices, NZ adult cattle slaughter in November increased 2% year-on-year, to 201,997 head. Furthermore, for the first two months of the new season, adult cattle slaughter totalled 344,753 head – up 4% on the same time the previous year. Female cattle (cow and heifer) slaughter also increased – up 2% year-on-year, to 93,353 head.

Beef + Lamb NZ’s new season outlook for 2015-16 highlights that, despite a higher start to the season, production and slaughter are forecast to decline year-on-year – down 5% and 9%, respectively, to 598,600 tonnes cwt and to 2.3 million head in 2015-16.

NZ beef exports in November saw a 25% increase year-on-year, to 31,869 tonnes swt for the month. Shipments were lower, however, to markets such as Japan and the Middle East, while exports increased to the US, Taiwan, South-East Asia and China compared to last year.

For the first two months of the 2015-2016 season (October and November), compared to the same time last year, NZ beef exports to:

  • the US decreased 8%, to 20,386 tonnes swt
  • China increased 275%, to 12,677 tonnes swt
  • Canada increased 200%, to 4,553 tonnes swt
  • Japan decreased 31%, to 1,937 tonnes swt
  • the Middle East increased 4%, to 2,949 tonnes swt

According to Beef + Lamb, total NZ beef exports are forecast to decrease 5% year-on-year to 400,000 tonnes swt for the 2015-2016 season. 

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