26 Aug 2013

Beef and lamb seasonally quiet, forestry exports up

1:13 pm on 26 August 2013

It's relatively quiet on both the lamb and beef fronts, with everyone waiting for things to pick up later in the season.

NZX AgriFax senior agriculture analyst Nick Handley says planning for the new season seems to be the theme amongst meat companies at the moment.

Much of the discussion is centred around the expected lower lamb kill and most importantly how that will be distributed through the coming season," he says.

Negotiations for Christmas business have been positive so far and demand has been strong.

However, Mr Handley says it is becoming clear that New Zealand won't be able to supply enough lamb early enough to meet demand this year.

Processing in the beef industry remains slow, in line with a period of low demand for imported beef in the United States.

But Mr Handley says drought conditions and feed prices are easing, encouraging US beef producers to retain cows, decreasing production of lean beef which bodes well for returns to New Zealand exporters when the US import market kicks back into life later in the year.

In contrast, the forestry sector is performing strongly, with New Zealand setting a half-year record for log exports both in terms of volume and value.

Export prices to Asia since 2010 have averaged around $17 per tonne more than the average for the previous seven years.