New Zealand flock decline may aid UK domestic festive demand

New Zealand flock decline may aid UK domestic festive demand

A decline in the New Zealand flock by one in 25 in just 12 months provides grounds for cautious optimism for end of year Welsh Lamb demand according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Total sheep numbers in New Zealand at the end of June 2015 had declined 4.1 per cent on the previous year to 28.6 million head, driven by a decrease in both the number of breeding ewes and hoggets, according to the latest figures released by Beef and Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ).

With fewer breeding ewes on the ground compounded by drought conditions in North Island, lamb production for the forthcoming 2015/16 season is also expected to be down. BLNZ has estimated the 2015/16 lamb crop at 23.8 million, a decline of 7.2 per cent on the previous crop. The average lambing percentage is also expected to be down, however spring lambing conditions will determine the total lamb crop.

lambs pic“As a result the export lamb slaughter is predicted to decline 7.4 per cent to 19.4 million head,” said Charlotte Morris, HCC industry information officer. “This reflects high New Zealand production levels for the previous year, as well as an estimated smaller lamb crop and an increased retention of hoggets as producers look to rebuild their flocks.

“Taking all these factors into account, the export lamb production is forecast to decline 6.3 per cent to 354,600 tonnes; it is difficult to predict how much of their exports will end up in the UK because exchange rates are so influential, but it could have a positive impact on the domestic market around the Christmas and New Year time.”

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