Meat exports climb to record high

New Zealand meat exports reached a record high of $5.3 billion in 2013-14, up $480 million on the previous season.

North Asia was the largest market region for the second consecutive season, accounting for 30% of total returns, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chief economist Andrew Burtt said.

The European Union and North America remained the primary markets for lamb and beef/veal respectively.

The amount of lamb exported was down 3%, reflecting last season's smaller lamb crop, but total returns were up 9.5% to $2.52 billion.

The average per-tonne value of lamb being exported rose 13% to $8300 compared with $7400 in the previous season, Mr Burtt said.

The EU accounted for 48% of lamb returns, while North Asia was the second-largest market destination for New Zealand lamb, at 34% by volume, but average returns were well below those achieved in the EU, reflecting the different product mixes exported to the two regions.

The average per-tonne return for North Asia was $6000, compared with $10,200 for the EU, he said.

Ninety-four percent of lamb exports were further processed, while 22% were chilled product.

It was New Zealand's second-largest mutton export season at 93,000 tonnes, up 11% on the previous season, mainly due to land use changing to dairying.

It was also the second largest beef and veal export season in history, at 383,000 tonnes, due to high beef production and an increased number of dairy cows processed.

Total beef and veal returns were up 8.4% to $2.29 billion, while the average value was up 2.1% to $6000 per tonne.

• ANZ's latest Agri Focus said lamb survival rates had been better than average this season, which boded well for docking tallies.

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