Total lamb exports were over $3.1 billion, up 25% on 2016-17 and 28% higher than the five-year average, while total mutton exports benefitted from limited international supply and strong demand to reach $618 million, up 46% on 2016-17.
Total red meat exports for New Zealand jumped from $1.2bn from 2016-2017 to over $6.6bn for the 2017-2018 period.
“While the highlights of the season were record high average values per tonne for lamb and mutton, the average value of beef exports remained high since the marked increase in 2014-15,” said B+LNZ’s chief economist Andrew Burtt.
“Good farm-gate prices and strong average values per tonne for exports occurred throughout the season, even during the fast start to the processing season driven by the dry conditions in December 2017.”
In terms of market demand, China leapfrogged the US as New Zealand’s largest red meat export by value and volume. China accounted for one-third of New Zealand’s red meat exports as the trend of an increasing share of New Zealand’s beef exports continued, combined with lifts in the share of lamb and mutton exported.
However, the US remains New Zealand’s largest beef export market, but the total share of beef decreased two percentage points to 47%.
B+LNZ reported that its lamb and beef exports were performing strongly at beginning of 2018, with profits surpassing the $3bn mark.