New Zealand’s red meat sector overcame a significant drop in export volumes to achieve sales of $1.1 billion during May – a 28% increase on 2021, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
The 15% increase in value compared to June 2021 was largely driven by beef exports, particularly to China.
Although the total volume of beef exports was down 7%, the overall value was up 23% to $504 million.
The value of beef exports to China was up 39% to $217 million.
The overall volume of sheepmeat exported was largely unchanged compared to June 2021, at 32,470 tonnes, with value up 15% to $398 million.
Volumes of chilled sheepmeat exports, however, continued to drop, down 31% to 2,253 tonnes.
Sheepmeat exports to China saw a drop in volume (21%) and value (31%) compared to the same period last year, but this was offset by increases in exports to other major sheepmeat markets.
That included the UK with volume up 14% and value up 28% to $40m, and the United States, where the volume increased by 12% and the value by 63% to $58m.
Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the MIA, describes the performance as remarkable in the face of challenging supply chain issues.
“What is also pleasing is that our grass-fed sustainable beef and lamb is clearly in demand across the globe. Consumers are increasingly valuing our natural low-impact farming practices and our farmers deserve a lot of credit for this,” Karapeeva says.
Total exports for the June 2021/2022 year were worth just under $11 billion, an increase in value of 20% compared to 2020/21 period.
Sheepmeat value was up 12% to $4.3 billion and beef by 28% to $4.6 billion.
“This clearly shows the hard work of our meat processing and exporting companies, who are capturing as much value as they can for the New Zealand economy under really trying circumstances,” says Karapeeva.