Latest figures from EBLEX predicts that New Zealand lamb production is will increase slowly over the next four to five years.

It say that figures from the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, show that projections are for growth in lamb production of around 1% per year between now and 2018.

This comes despite the expectation that breeding numbers will decline over the period, as further improvements to physical performance are expected. These are expected to be increased lambing rates and heavier carcass weights.

The expectation for exports is that, having continued to show strong growth, the Chinese market will continue to grow. However, it will be at a slower rate as the rate of growth in recent years is unsustainable and there will be a point when there will not be the supply to fuel further large scale growth.

Prices are expected to rise steadily as the world market continues to experience relatively short supplies maid rising demand, especially in China and other developing markets. However, the current projections indicate that prices will not return to the record levels that were recorded in the 2011 and 2012 period when the world market was particularly tight.

With increased volumes and stronger prices, the current projection for the value of the New Zealand lamb export trade is for a 26% increase between 2014 and 2018.