NEW ZEALAND - Adult cattle slaughter in New Zealand reached 303,775 head in March, one per cent below year-ago levels, as the seasonal peak ramped up, typically from March to May.
Meat and Livestock Australia analysts said that beef production was down by six per cent year-on-year over the same period, at 67,395 tonnes cwt according to figures from Statistics New Zealand.
Steer and bull slaughter declined considerably during March, back 23 per cent on the same time last year, at 80,635 head. Interestingly, cow and heifer slaughter was 10 per cent higher during the month, at 223,140 head – now the twelfth consecutive month of exceeding year-ago levels.
This is reflective of an increase in cull dairy heifers and cows due to the fall in the dairy payout, along with drought conditions, particularly in the South Island Beef & Lamb NZ said.
Subsequently, NZX Agrifax has reported that the number of cows processed in NZ reached record levels during the week ending 16th May, surpassing the 52,000 head mark for the first time. NZ exporters have reportedly had to continue shifting these large volumes of beef onto the weakening US market, pressuring US imported 90CL prices down further.
Offering some relief to NZ exporters has been the lower New Zealand dollar against the US dollar, which was trading at US$0.73 last week, according to Infoscan.
MLA said that the light lamb indicator gained 6¢ year-on-year, to 513¢, while the heavy lamb indicator eased 40¢ year-on-year, averaging 544¢/kg cwt.
Although prices averaged lower during the 2015 autumn, the national trade lamb indicator remained 19¢ above the five-year average (505¢) on 524¢/kg cwt.
TheMeatSite News Desk