15 Oct 2014

Bumper year for sheep, beef exports

5:42 am on 15 October 2014

It has been a cracker of a year for sheep and beef exports, with returns hitting a record high of $5.3 billion.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand says the record was achieved because of high average values.

The meat export season finished on 30 September, and Beef and Lamb's economic service said returns were up $480 million on last season to more than $5 billion.

While the volume of lamb exported fell 3 percent, the average value was well up on the previous season (13%) and total returns were up by 9.5 percent, sitting at over $2.5 billion.

Some 48 percent of lamb went to Europe, while Chinese demand saw New Zealand have its second largest mutton export season on record - sending 93,000 tonnes of mutton offshore.

Beef and Lamb's economics service notes that the returns for lamb in Europe far exceeded those from Asia.

It was also the second largest export season for beef and veal exports and returns were up by 8.4 percent to $2.29 billion.

North America accounted nearly half of the beef and veal returns (48 percent) and North Asia about a third (30 percent).

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs