NEW ZEALAND - With the 2014-15 New Zealand (NZ) production season now underway, the NZ lamb industry is currently focused on meeting overseas demand for the Christmas trade, writes Meat and Livestock Australia.
According to NZX Agrifax, processors have kicked off the season with very little product in storage, as frozen inventories are at low levels, allowing exporters to sell early season lambs chilled for immediate shipment.
Stocks in China, however, are still reportedly quite high, particularly frozen mutton, and while typical for this time of year, the high volumes of Australian sheep meat being sent to China are creating even greater competition for NZ exporters.
NZX Agrifax reports that demand for chilled product is ramping up in Europe, as processors begin to fill early contracts for Christmas.
However, according to NZX Agrifax, lamb production at this early stage of the new season has been tracking behind year-ago levels, with fewer lambs processed than the corresponding period last year.
This is reportedly not due to lack of lambs on the ground, but due to growth rates not being as strong as expected.
TheMeatSite News Desk