Chief economist Andrew Burtt told the Red Meat Sector Conference in Auckland the lift of $13 in the average lamb return for farmers from one season to the next is expected to result from some modest market gains, devaluation of the NZ dollar and some weight gain in the average lamb carcase.
At this early stage the economic service is forecasting an export lamb slaughter of 18.2 million for the 20913-14 season which begins on October 1, down 10% compared with this season, which will not please the meat companies.
He also predicted a 20c/kg lift in farmgate returns for export beef.
The welcome lift in prices should restore NZ farmers’ share of the European Union retail price, in our biggest market.
It dropped from almost 60% in 2011 to less than 40% in the current season, Burtt said.
During 2012 the UK paid $500 million for NZ lamb, followed by China at $348 million and the US $203 million.