The 2013-14 New Zealand lamb export season ended in September, and the latest figures released from GTIS indicate that total disposals of sheepmeat were back 3% year on year.

Declan Fennell, Meat & Livestock Division, Bord Bia, said the reduction reflects the smaller lamb crop of 2013, however, improved grazing conditions and higher carcase weights meant some of this decline was offset, as total sheepmeat export production fell by just 1.4% to reach 368,133 tonnes.

He said the European Union continues to be New Zealand’s number one market destination for sheep, accounting for almost 40% of volume exports and 50% of export receipts.

Total chilled sheepmeat exports into the EU for the 2013 -14 season as a whole were back 8.5%. This compares to a 1.6% decline in chilled exports to non-EU markets, which reaffirms New Zealand’s commitment to developing emerging and growing markets in the US, Middle East and Asia.

Overall, 2013-14 was a positive year, with the average value of chilled sheepmeat exports to the EU up 13% to €7,526, compared to €6,678 in 2012-13. New Zealand quota usage up to mid-October 2014 stood at 58%, and all indications would suggest that quota usage for the 2014 calendar year is unlikely to surpass the 69% of 2013.

The EU accounted for 48% of New Zealand lamb returns in the 2013-14 season. 

Analysis shows that while north Asia was the second largest market destination for New Zealand lamb, at 34% by volume, its average returns were well below those achieved in the EU.