NZ lamb production lowers in February

07 April 2016

In February, five months into the 2016-17 season, lamb production in New Zealand (NZ) lowered 8% on year-ago levels, to 42,156 tonnes cwt (Statistics NZ).

With a downward trend seen across both regions, production in the North Island decreased 5% year-on-year to 20,733 tonnes, while South Island production declined 10%, to 21,423 tonnes cwt. This season-to-date (October-February), lamb production has totalled 181,783 tonnes cwt – back slightly (2%) on the corresponding period the year prior.

An 11% decline in NZ lamb slaughter underpinned the lower February production – at 2.3 million head. For the season-to-date, 10.1 million lambs have been processed – a 2% decline on year-ago volumes.

According to Beef + Lamb NZ, tighter availability and a smaller lamb crop will see total lamb slaughter in 2016-17 decrease 8% on the previous season, to 19.6 million head. Consequently, production also expected to decline 8%, to 353,000 tonnes cwt by seasons end.

NZ mutton production and slaughter in February fell 39% and 40% year-on-year, to 12,019 tonnes cwt and 483,221 head, respectively. For the October to February period, however, sheep slaughter is down only 1% year-on-year, to just over 2.67 million head. Beef + Lamb NZ forecast sheep slaughter to drop 10% on the previous year, to 3.7 million head by seasons end.

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