Lamb exports to the European Union decreased by 5.9%, since January, despite an overall increase in meat exports from New Zealand. However, the volume and value of exports of New Zealand lamb to Ireland for the first six months of this year are up.

Despite the high New Zealand dollar, particularly during the main export months of January to June, there was an increase in the average value for lamb, mutton and beef/veal being exported.

A smaller national lamb crop flowed through to reduced lamb export volumes. However, for only the fourth time in history, lamb exports exceeded $2 billion in the first nine months of a season.

The drop in exports to the EU was partly offset by a rise in exports to North Asia – up 2.4%. This change in export destinations includes a change in the allocation between chilled and frozen lamb. Exports of chilled lamb decreased by 6.1%, compared to a 2.8% decline for frozen lamb.

This 2013-14 season has seen high levels of mutton processing, but this is starting to drop off and is expected to continue easing until the end of the season. The high mutton throughput reflects early processing and the impact of dairy conversions. Meanwhile, beef and veal exports were up, with higher volumes exported since April.

Lamb exports

Total lamb exports decreased by 3.6% per cent to 247,700 tonnes shipped weight in the first nine months of the season, compared with the same period last season. June was particularly low – down 13%, compared to June 2013 – accounting for 40% of the decline in volumes in 2013-14. The decline in lamb exports is expected to persist until the end of the season. As supply tighten, the average value of lamb exports increased.

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