4 Sep 2014

Better returns for sheep and beef

7:36 am on 4 September 2014

Sheep and beef farmers are in line for a boost to their incomes, and sheep can take most of the credit.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand is predicting in its new season's outlook that the average sheep and beef farm before-tax profit will increase by 8 percent on last season, to $110,800.

The economic service's executive director, Rob Davison, says most of that will come from a lift in the earnings from sheep.

"We're looking for a further firming of the lamb price. This year we would have averaged about $98 a lamb. Our forecast at the moment is, we're looking at about $103.

"So we're expecting a lamb crop pretty similar to last year. We've got fewer breeding ewes because of the expansion of the dairy industry.

"We had quite a high mutton slaughter and ewe numbers were down a bit further north because of a second year of dry conditions, but putting all that together, lamb crop of about the same and we think with the higher prices, we'll probably see sheep numbers increase a wee bit."

Mr Davison says farm gate prices for beef are also forecast to rise by 8.5 percent.