26 Nov 2008

Earnings from lamb exports expected to be higher

7:55 am on 26 November 2008

Lamb exports from New Zealand may earn more this year than last season, despite a big drop in the amount of lamb available for export.

The Meat & Wool Economic Service says that's a possibility because the falling New Zealand dollar has produced a much kinder exchange rate for exporters.

The agency expects this season's lamb kill to drop by six million, or 23%, as a result of a decline in sheep numbers stemming from the drought and changes in land use.

Heavier-weight lambs produced this season are expected to off-set some of that loss in numbers.

But director Rob Davison says the exchange rate could more than offset the impact in financial terms.

With less lamb to sell, he says meat exporters will focus on higher-paying markets and that will also influence the value.