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Survey Confirms Fewer Lambs

Meat & Wool New Zealand Survey Confirms Fewer Lambs

The 2007 Lamb Crop figures have confirmed the predictions of industry commentators – lamb production was well down with 1.7 million less tailed lambs compared to last spring. The 32.4 million lambs is an overall decrease of -4.9 percent, according to the annual Meat & Wool New Zealand Region Manager survey.

Based on the number of lambs tailed, the export availability for 2007-08 is estimated to be down 1.44 million (-5.6 percent) on last year to 24.44 million. This includes the need for fewer lambs to be kept for replacements due to the expansion of the dairy herd onto sheep and beef farmland, Meat & Wool New Zealand Economic Services Executive Director, Rob Davison said.

The decrease in lambs this spring in the North Island occurred as a direct result of the severe East Coast drought from autumn into winter, Meat & Wool New Zealand Economic Services Executive Director, Rob Davison said.

“The ewes were in light condition in this region and so conception rates were down, and this was compounded by the de-stocking of farms as feed supplies dried up.”

Lambs tailed in the North Island East Coast region were down 1.2 million (-15.6 percent), reflecting both lower ewe numbers (-3.6 percent) and a decrease in twinning. This resulted in the number of lambs born per 100 ewes falling from 120 last spring to 107 this spring. This is a 13 percentage point decrease. One third of all East Coast farms reported a lambing percentage decrease of more than 20 percentage points.

North Island lambs from ewes were down 1.5 million (-9.6 percent) to 14.4 million.

“The South Island ewe lambing was similar to last spring with 124 lambs tailed per 100 ewes. Within this statistic, the number of lambs born per 100 ewes was up 2.5 percent to 121 in the Marlborough-Canterbury region – however this was offset by one lamb less per 100 ewes in Otago-Southland.”

South Island lambs from ewes were down 0.7 percent to 18.0 million.

Mr Davison said lambs from hoggets were down 21 percent on last spring to 1.1 million. Decreases occurred in all regions except Marlborough-Canterbury where the number of farms with mated hoggets decreased – but this was more than offset by higher conception rates of hoggets mated. The East Coast North Island region hogget lambs decreased 46 percent on last spring.

Lambs from hoggets made up 3.5 percent of the total lamb crop this spring and can be compared with 4.2 percent last spring.


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