Beef and Lamb New Zealand has released its estimate for the 2017 lamb crop. The total New Zealand lamb crop is estimated to be 1.9% higher than in 2016, despite fewer ewes being put to the ram. The lambing percentage rose to a historical high of 127.2%, up 4.4 percentage points on 2016; this was in part due to good weather conditions at both tupping and lambing. The previous highest recorded lambing percentage was 125.45, recorded in 2014.
The number of hoggets put to the ram rose by 7% from 2016, which could in part be due to producers rebuilding their flocks from the drought. Another potential contributing factor is the strong cull ewe price which was recorded earlier in the year, which may have encouraged the culling of older ewes to take advantage of the price.
Although there the lamb crop is estimated to have risen, the number of lambs slaughtered is forecasted to rise by just 0.1%, due to producers holding onto more for use as replacement ewes. The average carcase weight of slaughtered lambs is expected to decrease slightly to 18.5kg, a decline of 0.8%, however if the good conditions continue then average carcase weights could be more in line with those recorded last year.
To read the full report from Beef and Lamb NZ, click here.