During October and November New Zealand deadweight Y grade lamb prices have consistently trended well above year earlier levels and the historical norm. In the week ending 27 November the New Zealand Y grade lamb price stood at 681 cents/kg, 169 cents above year earlier levels and 2 cents below the week earlier. Prices are still below those recorded during this time in 2011, when New Zealand Y grade lamb prices were above 700 cents/kg.
The price difference between UK and New Zealand produced lamb has narrowed, standing at 37.5p in the week ending 27 November. During the same week last year the difference stood at 93.8p. This narrowing of the gap between UK and New Zealand lamb prices will doubtless be influencing the downwards trend of UK imports of New Zealand sheep meat.
The New Zealand production year, which runs October to September, has started strong with 34.6 thousand tonnes of sheep meat produced of which 31.9 thousand tonnes was from lambs, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Primary Industries. Production during October was recorded at 23% above the same month last year. New Zealand slaughterings totalled 1,652 thousand head during October, 21% higher than the same month last year. Some of these higher slaughter numbers may be due to dry weather conditions in New Zealand which may have encouraged higher numbers to come forwards.