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New Zealand Forecasting Lower Lamb Production

27 April 2015

NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand lamb production will fall by 2.9 per cent this year, analysts are predicting.

However, this is only if rains come, according to Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

In a report, the levy board stated that lower slaughter tallies and lighter carcass weights will push lamb production lower on the prior season but if dry weather continued, then slaughter rates would be supported.  

Lamb production fell 2.6 per cent year-on-year last season to 19.8 million head, the levy board said in its 2014-15 mid-season update.

Furthermore, incomes on sheep farms are expected to fall, potentially cancelling out higher profits made with beef cattle.

North Island sheep numbers – at 14.5 million – and South Island numbers – at 15.1 million slipped 3.2 and 4.8 per cent respectively.

The report said: “This reflects the continued dairy herd expansion particularly in Canterbury and Southland. As a result, breeding ewe numbers were down 3.9 per cent to 10.2 million.

“Like the North Island, there was also a carry-over of trading lambs at 30 June 2013, which shows the 6.9 per cent decline in the number of hoggets to 4.4 million at 30 June 2014.”

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