Dairy Expansion Drives Drop in Meat Export Production

NEW ZEALAND - Growth in dairy cow numbers has been the major factor driving reduced breeding ewe numbers and lowered lamb and mutton export production for 2009-10, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service Executive Director, Rob Davison.
calendar icon 14 July 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Mr Davison says for the year ended 30 June 2009 Statistics New Zealand official breeding ewe numbers were 2.2 per cent (480,000 head) lower than previously estimated and the number of dairy cows was 3.1 per cent (140,000 head) higher than expected.

“Almost 70 per cent of the decrease in breeding ewe numbers and almost all (96 per cent) of the dairy cow increase occurred in the South Island.

“The flow on effect of this and other factors has been the 5.5 per cent drop in export lambs slaughtered to mid June 2010 (-1.0 million).

“We now estimate the 2009-10 export lamb slaughter for the year ending 30 September 2010 to drop 4.5 per cent from last year to 21.5 million head. This is significantly different – 2 million less than our December 2009 forecast.

“The export mutton slaughter is expected to be virtually unchanged from our December 2009 forecast and drops an estimated 10.1 per cent to 3.6 million head on last year.”

Mr Davison says the export beef slaughter is estimated to decrease 3.9 per cent to 2.25 million head, virtually the same as the December 2009 forecast.

“For cattle the decrease reflects a high slaughter in 2008-09 due to the increased turn-off of cull dairy cows. The decline in beef breeding cows in 2007 and 2008 also limits the number of prime cattle available this year. However, we expect some rebuilding of cattle herds in the previously drought affected regions.”

Beef + lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service survey of stock numbers on hand at 30 June is currently underway and due for completion on 22 July. Livestock on hand in mid winter form the productive base for the 2010-11 production outlook.

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