New Zealand Livestock and Products Semi-Annual 2007

US - By USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service - This article provides the cattle industry data from the USDA FAS Livestock and Products Annual 2007 report for New Zealand. A link to the full report is also provided. The full report includes all the tabular data which we have omitted from this article.
calendar icon 1 February 2007
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USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

Report Highlights:

New Zealand’s total cattle slaughter is forecast to increase 7 percent to 730,000 tons in 2007. Post forecasts increased slaughter across all cattle classes due to a number of factors. Beef exports are forecast to increase 8 percent to 620,000 tons. New Zealand farmers continue to benefit from strong prices in their main markets of Asia and the United States, although this is offset to some extent by the continued strength of New Zealand’s dollar.



2007 Revised Estimate: Post Forecasts Beef Production to Increase Seven Percent

New Zealand’s total cattle slaughter is forecast to increase 7 percent to 730,000 tons1 in 2007. Beef exports are forecast to increase 8 percent to 620,000 tons. This is an increase on post’s earlier forecast (see NZ6013) and includes a revision of the 2006 figures following the availability of updated trade data. The forecast increase in adult cattle slaughter is the result of strong beef prices in recent years, which increased retentions of dairy and beef calves in 2004 and 2005 for beef production. The cow kill is forecast to increase as older cows are culled out of the dairy herd. Many of these cows were held back during the past couple of seasons to build herds, as many heifers (especially dairy) were exported to China and Mexico, while simultaneously New Zealand’s dairy industry continued to expand. Live heifer exports declined sharply during 2006, but the dairy industry continues to grow, although at a slower rate. These factors all contribute to a forecast 3 percent increase in calf slaughter during 2007 – lower retentions for dairy (herd building and export), offset by strong retentions for beef production.

Continued strong returns to New Zealand farmers are due to a couple of main factors. The industry continues to benefit from the disrupted supply of North American beef to Asia, retaining the market share gained following the detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States and Canada. In addition, New Zealand farmers are benefiting from continued strong prices in the U.S. market, which accounted for 45 percent of New Zealand’s beef exports by value in 2005. The strong prices received in international markets are offset by the ongoing strength of New Zealand’s dollar.


Trade Between New Zealand and the United States

As a result of concerns over BSE, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) continues to require case-by-case assessment of U.S. bovine products before importation. NZFSA has completed an assessment of the U.S. BSE regime and has indicated that it will lift that restriction once both sides agree on certification language that must accompany meat imports. Discussions are currently underway on the revised certification language.

Ongoing Development of a New Zealand Animal Identification System

The New Zealand national animal identification and traceability scheme is still being developed (see NZ6003 and NZ5012). Consultations on how the system will be structured will begin in early- to mid-2007. Initially it will include cattle, both beef and dairy, and deer. It will later be expanded to other animals.

Food Miles Campaign

According to the New Zealand government and media, the concept of ‘food miles’ is gaining strength in Europe. A study by a New Zealand University (Lincoln University) has found the arguments made by food miles proponents to be misleading. The proponents of food miles argue that European consumers should not purchase food products from countries such as New Zealand because of the energy and carbon dioxide emissions associated with transporting foods over a large distance. These proponents state that consumers should instead purchase locally grown produce.

In contrast, Lincoln University found that the energy used in producing and transporting a New Zealand food product is, in most cases, less than that of its UK counterpart, by the time it reaches point of sale in the UK. The study assessed the energy used in producing and transporting onions, apples, lamb and dairy products to the UK. In the case of lamb, the energy used by the time New Zealand lamb reaches the point of sale in the UK is a quarter of that of UK lamb.

The researchers claim that the food miles concept is too simplistic to assess environmental impact, as it does not take into account the total energy used in producing and transporting food products. The New Zealand Government has moved rapidly to refute some claims made by proponents of food miles, expressing concern that environmental barriers, such as food miles, may be used as non-tariff barriers against New Zealand imports in some countries in the future. Many analysts state that campaigns such as food miles further emphasize the need for New Zealand to be able to show that its farming practices are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

List of Articles in this series

To read the full report please click here (PDF format)

To view our complete list of 2007 Livestock and Products Semi Annual reports, please click here

February 2007

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