Lamb fore­cast falls short of ex­pec­ta­tions


Waikato’s sheep farm­ers will take a big hit in the pocket if the low sched­ule lamb price fore­cast for the 2012-2013 sea­son holds.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand eco­nomic ser­vices ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Rob Dav­i­son said av­er­age lamb prices were likely to fall from $113 in the 2011-2012 sea­son to $95 for the 2012-2013 sea­son.

That’s a start­ing price of $5.20 per kilo­gram, a big slide on last year’s $7.50/kg-$8/kg peak prices, while the wool price is fall­ing 25 per cent.

For Waikato, as well as North­land and the Bay of Plenty, sheep and beef farm in­comes are expected to fall from an av­er­age of $89,000 in the just ended 2011-2012 sea­son to $69,000 in the new sea­son be­cause of the price de­creases.

That is a 23 per cent fall and will af­fect the 2100 sheep and beef farms in Waikato and wider re­gion.

Dav­i­son said that the past two years had been good for farm­ers but the strength of the New Zealand dol­lar against the euro and pound, af­fect­ing the coun­tries where ex­ports were most likely to end up, was hurt­ing lamb prices. ‘‘There’s a gen­eral lack of con­fi­dence – peo­ple are con­ser­va­tive be­cause of the re­ces­sion,’’ he said.

Waikato Fed­er­ated Farm­ers meat and fi­bre vi­cepres­i­dent Chris Irons said farm­ers were brac­ing them­selves. ‘‘They’re dis­ap­pointed. They won’t like prices drop­ping be­cause ex­penses are stay­ing the same,’’ he said.

‘‘I think there’s un­der­stand­ing why. It’s com­ing off the back of the meat­works. They’re hurt­ing be­cause they took their eyes off the ball around Christ­mas last year and be­cause the New Zealand dol­lar is high.’’

Irons, who farms at Te Kuiti, said most sheep farm­ers had counted more lambs this year but the num­bers were not enough to off­set the price drop. He has 2700 ewes on his farm and saw a 3 per cent in­crease in lamb num­bers dur­ing lamb­ing.

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers meat and fi­bre chair­man for Hau­raki- Coro­man­del Mike Mor­ri­son said most of the big­ger farms in the area had seen a 5 per cent to 10 per cent in­crease in lamb num­bers. Most farm­ers in the re­gion were hop­ing for a start price of $6 a kg, he said. ‘‘We’re dis­ap­pointed.’’

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