Red meat exports have dipped due to softer demand from China and higher competition from other meat exporting nations.
Red meat exports were worth $730 million in August 2023, a 16 percent drop on the same month last year.
The main decline was in exports to China, which were down 44 percent to $213m.
Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the decline in overall exports partly reflects the fact last year was a record for exports in August, however New Zealand is also facing growing competition in China.
"Meat competition has increased significantly in China and there are now 42 countries exporting meat to the country - 30 for beef alone.
"The volume of Brazilian and other South American beef on the China market is significant and it is driving down the price overall. Likewise, Australian producers are exporting significant volumes of mutton to China at a low price. Conservative consumer spending is also driving down pricing."
Sheepmeat exports were down 25 percent compared to last August to $73m - mainly due to a drop in exports to China.
And beef exports dropped 37 percent by volume to 14,691 tonnes and 56 percent by value to $101m also mainly due to softer demand from China.
But its a brighter picture in other markets. Karapeeva said exporters are seeing the benefits of the UK-NZ Free Trade Agreement with an increase in volume and value compared ot the same period last year.
And North American markets are performing well, exports to the US were up 26 percent in August to $188m and exports to Canada were up 136 percent to $40m.
"In North America, the United States is emerging from a drought and entering a herd rebuilding phase, which suggests a positive outlook for beef in that market for the future."