New Zealand beef production to rise this year

Beef production in New Zealand is expected to rise for the 2014-2015 season, Beef and Lamb New Zealand says.

There is an expected increase of 1.3% in cattle slaughter compared to 2014; bringing the total slaughter number to an expected 2.36m head, according to Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s mid-season update.

The organisation says that the rise reflects high slaughter numbers of cull cows due to a steep fall in the dairy payout and drought conditions particularly on the South Island over the 2015 summer.

Export beef production in New Zealand is estimated at 591,100t carcase weight in 2014-2015, a 1.2% increase on 2013/2014, the organisation says.

The update also says that while beef and veal exports are expected to rise by 1.2% on last year, the value of these exports is expected to rise by 24.5%.

Beef cattle numbers totalled 3.64m head on June 30 2014, which was down 1.7% from the previous June, the organisation says.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand said that this was due to a 2.3% decrease in the number of beef cows and heifers in-calf.

There was an increase of 4.1% of total dairy cattle numbers to 6.75m head as of June 30 2014; as land use change continued to place pressure of prime sheep and beef country, particularly in the South Island, it says.

Demand

Demand for New Zealand beef is expected to remain strong, especially in the US and China, the organisation says.

Record beef prices were recorded in the US in 2014 due to tight supplies and high beef prices are expected to continue through 2015.

Looking to China, demand for beef is expected to increase during 2015 as growth in domestic consumption exceeds growth in production, the update says.

The organisation says that Hong Kong is expected to remain a strong export destination for New Zealand beef in 2015.

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