October 31, 2003
Oct. 31, 2003 -- According to Meat New Zealand, lamb numbers fell 6 percent over the past year, to 31.15 million head, down from 33.09 million. Declining ewe numbers, lower conception rates and poor breeding conditions have been blamed for the decrease.
Given the decline in breeding ewes over the past few years, a fall in lamb numbers was expected in 2002/2003. However, drought conditions earlier this year, followed by cooler conditions, resulted in lamb numbers falling further than expected.
Mark Jefferies, chief executive of Meat New Zealand stated, ?With the colder conditions experienced this year, we would expect the lambing season to be extended. This will mean tighter supplies to our overseas markets prior to Christmas.?