14 Oct 2015

Beef overtakes sheep for first time in 20 years

7:09 am on 14 October 2015

The value of beef exports has overtaken sheep meat returns for the first time in 20 years, according to figures from Beef and Lamb New Zealand

Beef carcasses

Beef and veal export returns reached a record high of $3.2 billion in the 2014/15 season. Photo: 123RF

The 2014/15 meat export season finished on 30 September.

The figures for the season show beef and veal export returns reached a record high of $3.2 billion, up almost 40 percent compared with the previous season.

That was driven by high beef prices and strong demand from the United States, and also low dairy prices.

The two largest export markets for beef were the United States and China.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand said sheepmeat returns were constrained by supply.

It said, while exports dropped, returns were up by 1.3 percent to $2.6 billion.

Half of that was from the European Union while North Asia, the second largest export market, accounted for 21 percent of returns.

Mutton exports dropped 8.8 percent and export returns fell 9 percent to $445 million in the past season.

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