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New Zealand ramps up lamb production as mutton falls

Sheep Central, February 26, 2015

New Zealand’s lamb production and slaughter rates are running 12 per cent ahead of year-ago levels, but its mutton kill has fallen, Meat and Livestock Australia reported this week.

The country’s lamb production during January was up 35pc year-on-year, to 52,134 tonnes cwt, with production levels starting to ramp up towards the normal seasonal peak in March. Lamb slaughter was also 35pc higher than year-ago levels, totalling 3 million head, MLA said.

“This brings NZ’s lamb production for the 2014-15 season so far (October 2014-January 2015) to 139,094 tonnes cwt, a 12pc increase on the corresponding period the previous year.

“This lift in production was underpinned by a 12pc rise in lamb slaughter over the same time frame, to 7.7 million head – suggesting lambs were, on average, the same weight as last year,” MLA said.

NZ mutton production fell 35pc year-on-year in January, to 16,642 tonnes cwt, driven by a 36pc decline in slaughter, to 639,431 head. For the 2014-15 season to date, mutton production has decreased 17pc on last year, to 48,359 tonnes cwt, with slaughter totalling 1.8 million head – back 18pc year-on-year.

Source: Meat and Livestock Australia

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