Southland's lambing percentage has declined, in contrast to a record lambing percentage nationwide.

In Beef + Lamb New Zealand's latest Lamb Crop 2017 report, released earlier this month, BLNZ's economic service estimated nationally 436,000 more lambs were tailed this spring.

This is up 1.9% on 2016.

However, in Southland the estimate is 3,797,000 lambs this year, down from last season's 3,969,000.


In Otago, it was estimated 28,000 more lambs were tailed.

The national average ewe lambing percentage for 2017 was 127.2, up 4.4 percentage points on last year and up 6.4 percentage points on the 10-year average of 120.8%.

BLNZ chief economist Andrew Burtt said the record lambing percentage and more lambs from hoggets offset fewer breeding ewes.

In the South Island the average ewe lambing percentage for 2017 was 126.4, up 0.3 percentage points on 2016.

This was due to an overall lift in lambing percentages for most regions except Southland, Mr Burtt said.

Otago increased slightly, up 2.0 percentage points to 124.9%, while Southland decreased 1.3 percentage points to 137.1%.

''This season's lambing was characterised by mostly good climatic conditions, with isolated weather events causing losses in parts of the high country, and wet, stormy snaps of weather in north Marlborough and Southland,'' Mr Burtt said.

Overall, the number of lambs in Otago increased 0.7%, while in Southland the number was down 4.3%.

''In Otago, the number of ewes to ram declined. However, better lamb survival and an increase in ewe lambing percentages led to an increase in total lambs. In Southland, the combined effect of fewer ewes mated, a lower ewe lambing percentage and fewer lambs from hoggets led to a decrease in the number of lambs,'' the report said.

-Southern Rural Life