NZ lamb exports higher year-on-year

05 July 2016

In May, New Zealand (NZ) lamb exports were just short of 34,400 tonnes swt – increasing 15% on the year prior (Statistics NZ).

This brought the season-to-date (October to May) total to 235,000 tonnes swt – up 9% on the corresponding period the year before. NZ lamb production for the eight months was fairly steady year-on-year, at 309,138 tonnes cwt, despite NZ lamb slaughter declining 2% over the same period, at just over 17.08 million head processed.

Compared to last year, most of NZ’s major lamb export destinations recorded significant growth for the season-to-date, with shipments to:

  • China increasing 23%, to 78,160 tonnes swt
  • the UK increasing 5%, to 48,925 tonnes swt
  • the US increasing 7%, to 13,852 tonnes swt
  • the Netherlands increasing 26%, to 12,521 tonnes swt
  • Germany holding firm, on 12,893 tonnes swt

As reported by AgriHQ, lower sheepmeat inventories in China have resulted in a steady increase in demand for NZ lamb. Moreover, the willingness of Chinese importers to secure product at higher prices has reportedly stimulated demand in other markets, such as Japan.

NZ lamb exports 2015-16 season NEW


The Brexit vote has created a level of uncertainty in the NZ lamb industry, as the UK and wider EU are major export markets for NZ lamb. AgriHQ report that trade access is expected to remain relatively unchanged in the short term, with the impact dependent on potential renegotiation of trade agreements – both those between NZ and the UK, and those between the UK and other countries.

NZ mutton exports in May totalled 6,421 tonnes swt – increasing 51% on the year prior. For the season-to-date (October to May), mutton shipments reached just over 67,400 tonnes swt – up 6% year-on-year.

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