Recent forecasts for the current and next farming year (ending September 2019), see a decline of most industry indicators for the sheep segment.
At the end of September 2019, the domestic lamb kill is predicted to be approximately 19 million head, down -2.2% (or 400,000 animals), compared with this season. This decrease reflects the reduced number of breeding ewes (17.4 million, down -2.1%), brought about by high prices that favoured the ewe sales and kill. Moreover, lambing was down this season, as last season was a record high season due to very favourable conditions.
The average lamb carcase weight should reach 18.5 kg (+ 0.5% compared with 2017-18). New Zealand lamb meat production should decrease -1.7%, reaching 352,000 tonnes and bringing expected revenues of NZ$3.11 billion (2017-18 and 2018-19 being the only two seasons exceeding NZ$3 billion).
The sheep kill should be down -17% (or 700,000 heads) compared with last season, amounting to 3.3 million heads. Record high prices brought about an increased sheep kill. However, the sheep flock remained steady, because farmers retained many young ewes to rebuild the flock, they, therefore also became younger. Sheep carcass weights should very slightly decrease down to 22.5 kg (- 0.5%). Sheep meat production will decrease -17%, down to 84,100 tonnes, for expected revenues of NZ$466 million.
The ovine gross revenues per farm, that account for 48% of the total farm gross revenue in New Zealand should increase +1.2%, and amount to NZ$263,600 (revenue per farm).