New Zealand’s red meat exports rose 28 per cent to $2.2 billion for the third quarter compared to the previous year, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
The increase continued the trend of strong growth for the red meat sector in recent months with September exports alone reaching $642 million.
The major markets for the third quarter of the calendar year were China, with exports up 57 per cent to $830m, the United States, up 35 per cent to $542m, and Japan, increasing 61 per cent to $109m.
Sirma Karapeeva, MIA chief executive, said the red meat industry is earning important revenue for the country when other parts of the economy are significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Beef exports in particular have continued their strong run with the volume of exports for the third quarter increasing 22 per cent to 119,441 tonnes, and the value increasing 37 per cent to $991m.
“This was the first time that the volume of beef exports has been over 100,000 tonnes in the third quarter, which is a remarkable result for New Zealand.
“Australia is historically the largest beef exporter to the US, but its exports are significantly down this year due to herd re-building. Argentina is another important, although smaller, exporter to the US but its exports are also down, largely due to the government’s beef export restrictions and the high demand for beef in China.
“China’s beef imports have continued to grow and New Zealand has benefited from this demand, with exports growing by 50 per cent to 51,053 tonnes, worth $386m, for the quarter.”
Beef exports to New Zealand’s other major market, the US, also increased by five per cent to 37,285 tonnes, worth $329m, for the quarter.
While sheepmeat export volumes declined by eight per cent, to 61,944 tonnes for the quarter, strong prices in key markets saw the value increase by 10 per cent to $701m. The average FOB* value for sheepmeat exports for the quarter was $11.31/kg compared to $9.46/kg in the same period last year.
The major sheepmeat markets were China, increasing by 42 per cent to $334m, and the United States, up by 71 per cent to $108m.
Exports of co-products increased even more than sheepmeat and beef, up 42 per cent for the quarter to $475m. The largest increase was in tallow exports, up 239 per cent to $66m, but exports of all co-products categories increased compared to last year.
Offal prices rose, up 56 per cent to $88m in the third quarter, particularly beef. The volume of beef offal exports grew by 12 per cent to 10,576 tonnes year on year, but the value increased 80 per cent to $75m.
“Co-products, such as tallow, offal, casings and tripe are increasingly becoming an important part of the industry’s product and market diversification strategy,” said Ms Karapeeva.
“Co-products account for 18 per cent of the industry’s total export value. This highlights the importance for our sector of being able to access sufficient labour to be able to save and produce a wide range of co-products to maximise the value from every carcass.
“There have been reports that lack of labour has meant that some plants around the world have stopped processing offal, which has led to an increase in prices, particularly for beef offal.
“The average FOB value of beef offal increased from $4.38/kg to $7.09/kg, which is not much less than the average FOB value of $8.30/kg for beef exports for the quarter.”
*Free on board – the quoted price for the goods delivered to the ship for shipment