Beef + Lamb: A Tale Of Two Commodities
Sheep & Beef
Sheep & Beef

Beef + Lamb: A Tale Of Two Commodities

Jen Corkran is a Senior Animal Protein Analyst with Rabobank who has released their monthly report with the latest information on international sheep and beef markets.

She highlights the decline in sheep meat exports, especially to China, which has shown sluggish demand.

"We'd really like to see more upside in the farmgate prices for sheep meat at the moment in lamb and we've got this really big ship called China that's taking a long time to turn around, I guess, in terms of demand and the value that they want to give us for our sheep meat." 

Despite this, there are positive signs in other markets, with slight increases in exports to the UK, US, and UAE. The UK market, in particular, shows potential for New Zealand lamb due to its record low breeding flocks since 1996. 

"The other thing that this sort of lower domestic consumption supply of lamb and sheep meat in the UK means is that they send a lot of their own product over to Europe, especially France...So you know there could be some upside and demand out of Europe and the UK for New Zealand lamb." 

Conversely, the beef market presents a more optimistic outlook, with strong farmgate beef prices in New Zealand bolstered by export demand from the US. This is due to a decrease in the US beef herd size. 

Corkran expresses confidence in the beef sector, predicting, "Beef is looking like it'll be the golden goose of the red meat sector for 2024." 

The conversation also touches upon the US's significant demand for lean beef trimmings, a component used in beef burgers, which bodes well for New Zealand farmgate beef prices. Weather patterns, specifically the late autumn season, also take centre stage in the conversation. 

The cooler temperatures, shorter days, and unpredictable rainfall are discussed in terms of their impact on pasture supply and feed growth rates, critical factors for livestock management. While late autumn rain poses challenges, there's also potential for warm days to spur feed growth before winter, which is crucial for farmers' decision-making. 

Overall, Corkran offers a comprehensive look at the shifting landscape of the meat export market and the complex interplay between agricultural practices, climate, and economic forces.

Listen to the full chat between Jen Corkran and Dominic George above.

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