New Zealand Exports estimated slightly down
In North Island regions, lamb numbers were affected by the impact of facial eczema on breeding ewe condition and numbers, and wet climatic conditions which hindered lamb growth rates, Burtt said. Lamb numbers in South Island regions were slightly ahead of last season, due to good climatic conditions, improved lamb thrift and a lift in ewe lambing percentages. These factors combined to offset a decrease in breeding ewe numbers.
Burtt said over the whole country, there was a 1.3% drop – or 0.3 mill. fewer lambs than last year. In the North Island, 11.3 mill. lambs were tailed – down 0.3 mill. on last year, but up on 2013’s tally. Meanwhile, 12.4 mill. lambs were tailed in the South Island.
Burtt says that there will be 19.4 mill. lambs available for export in the 2016-17 season – down an estimated 2.7%. This contrasts with last season’s 19.9 mill. “Lamb export receipts for 2016-17 are estimated at $2.5 bn, slightly down on the previous season.”
The lamb crop survey covers 500 commercial sheep and beef farms, which are statistically representative of New Zealand’s commercial sheep and beef farms.