Sheep fall another blow for New Zealand economy
The New Zealand economy, which is
technically in recession, suffered another blow Monday when it was revealed
that the number of lambs available for export this year is expected to be down
23.2 per cent on last season, dpa reported.
Farmers switching from sheep meat production to dairy cattle are one reason for the forecast fall to 20.4 million head, estimated to produce 361,000 tons of export meat, and wool, New Zealand's Economic Service reported.
The news followed an announcement on Friday that dairy farmers faced a 700 million New Zealand dollars (about 364 million US dollars) cut in their projected income after the giant Fonterra Co- operative Group slashed its forecast payment for milk for the current season by 60 cents to 6.00 New Zealand dollars per kilogram of milk solids.
Production of dairy products and meat are major contributors to the New Zealand economy, which has recorded two quarters of negative growth and is predicted to be in the middle of a third.
Meat and wool economist Rob Davison said the switch to dairying - encouraged by much bigger farm incomes than meat until recently - and a drought last summer, have cut the number of lambs born this spring.