Meat, dairy volumes boost revenue

Higher volumes of exports resulting from last year's favourable production season boosted primary sector revenue for the September quarter, despite difficult trading conditions and a stronger dollar.

Export revenue for the quarter was $7.12 billion, up 4.7% on the previous September quarter, and, at $32.43 billion for the year to September, was up 0.5% on the previous year, a report from the Ministry for Primary Industries report showed.

The result was mostly driven by higher meat and dairy volumes as exporters sought to reduce stocks generated by the ''bumper'' production season, MPI economic information and analysis manager Chris Jones said.

Dairy export revenue was up 10.4% for the quarter due to a 36% volume increase, largely from the 2011-12 season.

Over the decade since September 2003, the dairy industry's contribution to total primary sector export revenue had increased from 30% to 43% in 2012.

Milk solids production increased 8.8% in the September quarter to 316,000 tonnes due to instances of early calving that boosted production in July and August, favourable climatic conditions during winter and early spring, and an increase in cow numbers, the report said.

Export prices for all dairy commodities decreased in the September quarter, compared to the corresponding quarter last year, due to abundant international supplies.

In contrast, export volumes soared for all production except cheese, as a result of a large volume of product stocks from the 2011-12 season being exported in what was typically the quietest dairy export quarter in a year.

Meat export revenue increased 1.6% to $1.04 billion for the quarter, but the higher volumes were moderated by lower prices for lamb, sheepmeat and venison. Seafood revenue was up 4.6% to $385 million, due to a 6.1% volume increase. Higher export revenues from sawn timber and panel products were not enough to counter weaker revenues from other forestry products.

A report by the MPI earlier this month showed primary sector export revenue for the year to June next year was forecast to be down about 5% on the previous year's income, as deteriorating global economic conditions significantly affected returns.

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