Meat exports soar to record in 2014 season

The annual value of New Zealand meat exports rose to a record as global demand for kiwi meat boosted prices and offset the impact of a strong kiwi dollar.

The value of annual meat exports rose 9.6 percent to $5.3 billion in the year ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, reports the economic service for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the sheep and beef farmer-owned industry body. North Asia, including China and South Korea, took a third of the country's meat exports overall, for the second year in a row.

Rising lamb prices offset a 3 percent drop in exports volumes, reflecting a smaller crop in the season, Beef + Lamb said. Total returns rose 9.5 percent to $2.52 billion, while the average per tonne value rose 13 percent to $8,300. The European Union is the primary market for New Zealand lamb, accounting for 48 percent of all lamb returns in the season.

Beef and veal recorded its second largest season at 383,000 tonnes exported, with returns rising 8.4 percent to $2.29 billion. The average price increased 2.1 percent to $6,000 per tonne. North America made up 48 percent of beef and veal returns, while North Asia made up 30 percent.

Mutton recorded its second largest export season, up 11 percent to 93,00 tonnes exported for an annual return of $490 million, as more farmers switched to dairy and disposed of their sheep, Beef + Lamb said.