NEW ZEALAND, Wellington. Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Lamb Crop 2016 report says the average lambing percentage across the country was up 2.1% – a remarkable performance given the challenges of the previous season.
The average lambing percentage was 123 lambs born per 100 ewes and it was achieved because ewes were in good condition, there was enough spring feed, and more lambs were born from hoggets. Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service chief economist Andrew Burtt said the report estimates 23.7 mill. lambs were tailed this spring. They came from a breeding ewe flock that was down 3.1% on last year.
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.
Source: Beef + Lamb New Zealand