NZ beef production season tracking lower year-on-year

03 May 2016

New Zealand (NZ) adult cattle slaughter in March declined slightly (0.4%) year-on-year, with 306,769 head processed for the month (Statistics NZ).

For the season-to-date (October to March), adult cattle slaughter totalled over 1.32 million head, a 10% decline year-on-year. The female proportion also trended lower for the October to March period, with just over 693,500 head processed – down 11% year-on-year.

Despite the slight decrease in slaughter in March, NZ adult cattle production increased 3% on year-ago levels, to 70,226 tonnes cwt, indicating heavier carcase weights were processed during the month.

For the season-to-date, however, total NZ adult cattle production declined 8% on the corresponding period the year prior – to 337,668 tonnes cwt. North Island production eased 6% year-on-year, to 247,581 tonnes cwt, while South Island production decreased to a greater extent, down 16% to 90,087 tonnes cwt.

AgriHQ report that tighter than expected supplies for this time of year has supported direct-to-works cattle prices in recent weeks, with processors offering competitive spot premiums to secure numbers. Furthermore, lower cattle availability has seen NZ exporters push up asking prices, with imported US beef prices continuing to improve over the last week.

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