New Zealand lamb production up 1% on 2014, exports down 4%

New Zealand lamb production for the 2014-15 season-to-date (October 2014 to June 2015) is 1% higher than the previous year, at 331,337t, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has said.

It attributes this rise to a 2% lift in lamb slaughter over the same time, amounting to 18.5m head.

Looking at Kiwi mutton production from October 2014 to June 2015, MLA said it is 7% lower than the previous year at 91,064t.

This is due to a 6% drop in sheep slaughter for the period (3.6 million head), it said.

Quoting Beef and Lamb New Zealand, MLA said that lamb slaughter for the 2014-2015 season is forcast to reach 19.8m head.

In order for this to be met, it will require a considerable contraction in slaughter for the remainder of the season. Furthermore, the forecast for sheep slaughter was 3.5m head for 2014-15, which has already been exceeded, MLA said.

Exports 

Kiwi lamb exports over the October-June period have declined 4% year-on-year, to 242,664t shipped weight, MLA said.

Shipments to China are 10% lower year-on-year for the season-to-date, at 70,282t. It is reported that subdued demand from China is expected to continue in the short-term, mainly due to already high inventories and increased domestic production.

Volumes to the UK eased 2% on the previous year, at 50,924t.

However, there was some positive news, MLA said that several of New Zealand’s smaller export markets have registered strong growth on year-ago levels, such as the US (14,777t, up 9%), Germany (14,501t, up 25%) and the Netherlands (10,771t, up 16%).

Shipments to Saudi Arabia also increased 5% year-on-year for the season-to-date, to 14,446t, it said.

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