NZ cattle production tightens

08 March 2016

New Zealand (NZ) beef production in January decreased 21% from year-ago levels, to 60,694 tonnes cwt (Statistics New Zealand).

Mid-way through the NZ season, production in the North Island eased 21% year-on-year to 44,039 tonnes cwt, while the South Island followed a similar trend – down 23%, to 16,654 tonnes cwt.

For the season-to-date (October-January), NZ beef production is 210,611 tonnes cwt – down 9% from the corresponding period last year. In line with Beef + Lamb NZ’s mid-season update, export beef production is estimated to be 605,000 tonnes cwt for the 2015-16 season – down 7%.

NZ adult cattle slaughter trended as expected in January, down 22% year-on-year, to 221,832 head. Unsurprisingly, cow and heifer processing in January also decreased – down 20% year-on-year, to 80,308 head.

This took the number processed for the NZ season-to-date to 782,829 head – back 9% from the same time last year.

Low dairy prices at the same time as high beef prices resulted in NZ producers liquidating their herds in the 2014-15 season. The smaller herd resulted in cattle slaughter forecasts to total 2.41 million head in the new season – down 10% from year-ago numbers (Beef + Lamb NZ - BLNZ).

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