Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Cold snap sees NZ lamb numbers plummet

COLD AND wet conditions during spring has hit the 2010 New Zealand lamb crop, leaving total Kiwi lamb production well back down on 2009/2010.

New Zealand lamb numbers are estimated to be back 10pc on last season, according to the latest figures released by the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

The latest report shows the number of lambs was 25.11m head -- 2. 8m head less than last spring.

Bord Bia's Gerard Brickley said this was the biggest fall in numbers recorded in 21 years.

Rob Davison, the B+LNZ's economic service director, said that the ewe lambing percentage on both the North and South Island was 109.6pc.

"That's 11.9pc lower than last season's 121.5pc and the lowest percentage we've seen since the spring of 1995," Mr Davison said.

Lambs available for export are set to fall by 1.4m head (-6.8pc) on last season. It is forecast that 19.5m lambs will be available during the current marketing year, which began on October 1 and runs to September 30 next year.

With fewer lambs to finish, average weights are expected to be up 1pc on last year, to 17.8kg, which would make this the highest on record.

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The prediction is that farmers will draft as many lambs as possible early to take advantage of the new season lamb schedule prices, then hold off until later in the season, opting to produce heavier weights to maximise prices.

Irish Independent