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New Zealand Trims Lamb Production Forecasts

19 March 2013
BordBia

NEW ZEALAND - The mid-season outlook released recently by Beef and Lamb New Zealand shows a slight downward adjustment in their export lamb production projections due to tighter than predicted supplies combined with lower carcase weights, according to Peter Duggan from the Strategic Information Services of Bord Bia.

For the 2012/13 marketing year, which concludes this September, export lamb supplies were originally forecast to increase by over six per cent with this figure now adjusted to under 6% at 20 million head.

However, lower carcase weights will have the most significant effect on lamb export potential, with a drop of over three per cent now forecast to 18.1kg. This will lead to lamb exports being just 3% higher at 363,000 tonnes, which was originally forecast to reach 372,000 tonnes.

Looking ahead to the 2013/14 marketing season, Beef and Lamb New Zealand are expecting little change in the breeding flock this June at 20.32 million head.

Given this scenario, export lamb production will hinge on external factors such as feed conditions for ewes prior to mating, lambing percentages and the number of lambs born from hoggets.

For the first four months of the 2012/13 marketing year, GTIS reported that total New Zealand sheepmeat exports were some 41 per cent higher on the previous marketing season at 115,700 tonnes pw.

This would suggest that for the remainder of the season, shipments will slow down in response to tighter supplies anticipated. Shipments to the EU also increased but at a slower rate, with an increase of 25 per cent to 44,200 tonnes pw recorded in the same period. Within this, a rise of 42 pe cent in chilled shipments to 20,000 tonnes pw was evident.

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