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Dairy Conversions Take Toll on Kiwi Lamb Production

24 June 2015

NEW ZEALAND – The trend for sheep farms to switch to dairying is being reflected in a slump in monthly lamb slaughter figures, says market analyst Meat and Livestock Australia.

The red meat levy board says kiwi lamb slaughter remains ‘well below’ five-year average levels.

The move to dairy farming continues to "place pressure" on the sheep industry, said MLA. 

April slaughter was nine per cent below the five-year average, although two per cent above year ago levels, according to data from Statistics New Zealand.

As a result, lamb production fell nine per cent from the five-year average to 39,569 tonnes cwt.

Commenting on data from Statistics New Zealand, MLA said: “The solid supply of lambs still coming forward before the production season winds down during winter placed pressure on exporters during the month, at a time when subdued global demand made it difficult to shift product and maintain prices.

“Trading conditions reportedly remained tough during autumn, although recent reports from AgriHQ suggest that the market has found some stability over the past few weeks. Reduced lamb supplies out of Australia, along with NZ production starting to taper off, has brought some relief to exporters.

“Furthermore, the NZ$ hit a five-year low today (23 June), trading at 0.68US¢ – its lowest level since July 2010. Also dropping against the GBP and Euro, the lower NZ$ will support export returns during the tail-end of the season.”


Top image via Shutterstock

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