Slight increase in the number of New Zealand lambs

Thursday, 9 December 2021

By Rebecca Wright

The lamb crop in New Zealand has increased slightly on the year, to 22.7 million head, according to Beef and Lamb NZ. There was a decline in the size of the breeding flock, but this was offset by a higher lambing percentage.

Over the coming New Zealand production year, a total of 18.48 million lambs are expected to be slaughtered, up 1%. The number of adult sheep is expected to drop sharply, due to both the current optimism within the industry and reports that the average age of ewe is on the younger side.

Farmgate prices in New Zealand have begun to feel the pressure although remain at elevated levels. The pressure is very much seasonal and comes from the increase in the number of lambs available for slaughter. The element supporting prices, high export demand, remains.

In recent years, New Zealand’s exporters have increasingly turned their attention to the large and valuable Chinese market. We expect this trend to continue next year. Look out for an update to the Agri-market outlook at the end of January.

Image of staff member Rebecca Wright

Rebecca Wright

Senior Analyst - Red Meat

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