Beef export returns trump sheepmeat returns for first time in 20 years
The 2014-15 meat export season concluded on 30 September 2015 and analysis by Beef + Lamb New Zealand's Economic Service
shows that New Zealand beef export returns reached a record high, exceeding lamb and mutton returns for the first time
in 20 years. It is worth noting, however, that sheepmeat returns were constrained by supply.
Beef: Record high export volumes, average value and returns
New Zealand beef and veal exports generated $3.2b in 2014-15, up 39% compared with the previous season. This reflected
an increase in both shipments
(+10%) and average value (+26%).
Driven by high beef prices, mainly due to strong US demand and low dairy prices, New Zealand beef production increased
significantly in 2014-15. Beef exports averaged $7,510 per tonne in 2014-15 compared with $5,970 in the previous season.
In the 35 years since records have been kept, the average value of New Zealand beef exports has not exceeded $6,000 per
Demand was particularly strong in North America and North Asia, where exports increased by 22% and 7%, respectively,
while shipments to every other region declined. The two largest export markets were the US and China. While the US has
traditionally been the largest market for New Zealand beef exports, China became the country’s second largest market
three years ago.
Lamb: A drop in exports and a rise in the average value
Despite an increase in lamb production in the 2014-15 season, New Zealand lamb exports were down 2.0%. However, this was
offset by a rise in the average value of lamb exports (+3.4%).
New Zealand lamb export returns reached $2.6b in 2014-15, up 1.3% on the previous season. In 2014-15, half of the
returns were achieved in the EU, while North Asia, the second largest export region, accounted for 21% of lamb export
After doubling over the previous five years, New Zealand lamb shipments to North Asia decreased by 12% in 2014-15. This
was due to more product being exported to other markets.
Mutton: Mutton shipments remain high
While 2014-15 New Zealand mutton shipments were down on 2013-14 – dropping 8.8%, to 85,300 tonnes shipped weight – the
shipments were still 13% higher than the five-year average. This reflectselevated levels of production and exports in
The combination of lower shipments and no change in the average value resulted in mutton export returns dropping 9.0% to
$445m in 2014-15.
After two years of tremendous growth in mutton exports to North Asia, shipments to the region fell by 23% in 2014-15.
This was due to a drop in export volumes of mutton carcases, which accounted for 22% of mutton shipments to North Asia,
down from 41% in 2013-14.