Beef and Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ), the Kiwi equivalent to Meat & Livestock Australia, have released their livestock projections for the 2022/23 financial year and they show the flock growing for the first time since 2012, albeit marginally. The last few years have seen beef and dairy cattle favoured instead of sheep in NZ, but this financial year it is expected that the Kiwi sheep flock will grow by 0.2%, compared to a 0.9% decline in beef cattle numbers and a 0.8% drop in the dairy herd.
Despite the lift in the total sheep flock from 25.73 million head to 25.78 million head, breeding ewe numbers and the lamb crop are still projected to decline. NZ breeding ewe numbers are forecast to ease by 1.4% from 16.3 million head to 16.1 million head and there hasn’t been an increase to the Kiwi breeding ewe flock since 2006. Meanwhile the lamb crop is expected to fall by 0.9% from 22.6 million head to 22.4 million head.
In the sheep meat export space there wont be too much added competition from New Zealand over the coming season. Total lamb and mutton exports are forecast to climb by just 0.5% from the previous year. Lamb exports are anticipated to ease by 2,000 tonnes to 280,000 tonnes and mutton exports will increase by just 3,000 tonnes to 91,000 tonnes.