New Zealand cattle slaughter numbers are projected to remain relatively stable into 2013, and are forecast at 4.1 million head, according to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.
Excellent weather conditions stretching back over the past twelve months have strengthened the slaughter dynamics and positioned the livestock sector to increase production levels for the balance of 2012 and into 2013.
Total cattle slaughter for 2013 is forecast at 4.146 million head, marginally higher (0.6%) than the revised 2012 estimate of 4.12 million head. The dairy herd benefited from extraordinarily good pasture growth during 2011/12, which contributed to a greater number of in-calf (pregnant) cows than previously expected.
As a result, during the first half 2012, the cow kill was about 100,000 head lower than previously anticipated. It is expected that these cows will show up in an increased cow kill in 2013. Increased cow kill in 2013, will support higher beef production which is forecast at 633,000 metric tons (MT), carcass weight equivalent (CWE), just 1% ahead of the revised 2012 estimate of 627,000 MT (CWE). Domestic Consumption is projected to remain stable in 2013 and is forecast at 115,000 MT (CWE), 1,000 MT less than the current estimate for 2012.
On the trade front, beef exports in 2013 are forecast at 529,000 MT (CWE), up about 8,000 MT (1.5%) on the revised 2012 estimate of 521,000 MT (CWE). In reverse of a long standing trend, beef exports to the United States have been increasing, growing by 12 percent in 2012 to an estimated 240,000 MT, and projected to increase by another 5 percent in 2013 to 252,000 MT.
In June 2011, NZ Food Safety (now part of the Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI)) modified the import requirements for bovine meat and products. Previously an application to import beef into NZ from the US was administered on a case by case basis.
Under the new requirements, MPI has a pre-clearance arrangement with the US which requires the competent authority in the US to issue certification with each consignment.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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