The drought that hit New Zealand's North Island earlier this year is responsible for 2 million fewer lambs being born this spring, Beef+Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) said. According to the annual B+LNZ Economic Service stock number survey, this spring's lamb crop is expected to be down 7.7 percent to 24.43 million.
Andrew Burtt, chief economist of Economic Service, said the drought conditions affected ewe condition at mating and, consequently, scanning results were variable across the North Island.
"We're expecting lambing percentages to be down by up to 20 percentage points in the regions worst hit by drought in the north. The South Island fared better and scanning results were down only a few percentage points - and that's against last season, which was favorable in the south," continued Burtt.