The 2013-14 export lamb kill will be the lowest in 50 years because of last summer's drought, but better prices should compensate for the lost volume, says Beef and Lamb NZ in its seasonal outlook.
The industry group, responsible for the marketing of beef and lamb domestically, says the spring 2013 lamb crop is set to be down 7.7 per cent, or 2.1 million lambs, reflecting the drought's severity.
The average lambing percentage was expected to be 6 to 7 percentage points lower than in spring 2012 - about 116 to 117 per cent compared with 123 per cent, Beef and Lamb NZ said in this latest outlook.
The export lamb slaughter for 2013-14 is tipped to fall by about 10 per cent to 18.6 million head - the lowest in 50 years - because fewer ewes mated and poorer lambing percentages as a result of drought.
Beef and Lamb NZ said the volume of lamb exported was expected to fall 9 per cent, while the average value was forecast to rise by 10 per cent.
Lamb prices were expected to average $98 for an 18.4kg lamb, up 16 per cent on the provisional 2012-13 price of $84.60 a head.