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New Zealand's cattle prices at near-record levels

Staff writer |
Dry conditions helped drive lamb and mutton returns down in the December quarter, while beef prices remained at near record levels, according to Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

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Th group said the fall in sheepmeat prices was normal for the time of year, but that the decline was made worse by dry conditions, which led to an increase in production over the quarter.

Beef and Lamb said prices for cattle remained at near-record high levels after several months of increases in 2015 but were expected to start easing as United States demand for beef slowed.

Export revenue from red meat reached a record high over the quarter. The record was driven by increased shipments but average per tonne values were down, despite the New Zealand dollar's depreciation.

Beef and veal exports generated $682 million in the December quarter, up 14 per cent from the same period last season (there was a 15 per cent increase in shipments, while the average value was down 1 per cent).

Exports to North America, the largest destination for New Zealand beef and veal exports, remained unchanged from the previous season - at levels 33 per cent higher than the five-year average.

However, the average value of exports to North America was down 8.2 per cent, despite a 15 per cent depreciation of the kiwi against the US dollar over the period.

The decline reflected a 14 per cent drop in processing beef's average value, which was partly offset by rises in the average value of other cuts.

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