Lamb prices bouyant, crop down

The Southland blizzard, spring storms in the North Island and dairy conversions have taken their toll on this season’s lamb crop.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service announced today after reviewing the provisional half-year lamb slaughter numbers that total lamb production is on track to reach the forecast figure of 19.3 million head for the current season. This season is 7.7 per cent less than the 2009-10 season and is less than the 19.5 million head forecast in the November 2010 Lamb Crop report. This is the lowest lamb slaughter figure since the 1960-61 season.

Supply is down and prices are up and look bouyant for the rest of the season.

Lower global supply, including lower than usual exports from Australia, have led to higher mutton prices with record highs throughout the season even though our export mutton volumes are higher.

 Based on the provisional half-year slaughter numbers, we still expect at least 4 million head of mutton to be processed, which is 9.9 per cent more than last season.” Anecdotal comment suggests farmers are culling the bottom end of their flocks to take advantage of higher mutton prices and this could lift the mutton volume a further 5 per cent (0.2 million). In turn this may have an offset with more lambs kept as replacements lowering the export lamb slaughter by a similar number. Lamb prices for April averaged $116 per head and were up 53 per cent on last year’s $76 per head for the same month. Similarly mutton prices are up 63 per cent on 12 months ago and for April averaged $97 per head.

The last three seasons have been very tough for sheep farmers. This season’s improved returns for lamb and mutton and  are very welcome, especially when pelts and wool are also receiving better prices.

4 Responses to Lamb prices bouyant, crop down

  1. poneke says:

    Lamb are now a crop?

    What happened to flocks?

    Is a shepherd now and shepcrop?


  2. gravedodger says:

    It was a very astute move when your Farmer moved to Lamb those 10 000 ewes this year.
    Do you think he could write a book and spill the beans on what led him to that farsighted move, I would put my name down at the library for it. It can’t have been the simple old adage,”only plant cheap spuds never dear ones” can it?


  3. JC says:


    Yep. From Miriam Webster

    “a (1) : a plant or animal or plant or animal product that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence (2) : the total yearly production from a specified area”



  4. homepaddock says:

    Poneke – further to JC’s explanation my udnerstanding is that it’s a flock when they’re running round and a crop when they become food.

    GD – he’s featured in the April edition of Countrywide though not giving away too many secrets.


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