- news, features, articles and disease information for the cattle industry


2015 Overall Cattle Numbers Estimated to Rise

09 September 2014

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

NEW ZEALAND - Overall cattle numbers will begin the 2015 year estimated at 10.29 million head and rise during the year to 10.54 million head.

The 252,000 head (2.4 per cent) increase is driven by increases to the: dairy cow herd (45,000 head); dairy herd young stock (104,000 head); and the beef herd (103,000 head). The beef herd will increase despite another decrease in beef cow numbers to 975,000 head as farmers replenish their stock numbers, primarily by retaining progeny bred from the dairy herd, after two autumn droughts in 2013 and 2014.

There is some scope for further increases in the beef herd in the order of 150,000 to 200,000 head while beef enterprise profitability is strong relative to sheep profitability and the dairy sector is likely to enter an era of significantly slower expansion of beef only one per cent (6,000 MT) less than the total to be produced in 2014 now estimated at 629,000 MT CWE.

Exports in 2015 should dip slightly to 528,000 MT CWE as a result of the reduced kill numbers. For 2014, exports have been revised up (two per cent) to 535,000 MT CWE through increased production and imports combined with reduced domestic consumption.

The buzz in the markets is the huge rise in lean manufacturing beef prices in the US, an approximate increase of 34 per cent in six months. This will result in a greater tonnage being shipped from New Zealand to the US in both 2014 and 2015, estimated at 263,000 MT CWE and 260,000 MT CWE respectively.

This represents an increase in shipments to the United States by approximately seven per cent relative to 2013. Given New Zealand’s essentially stable level of exports the markets likely to have beef diverted away from them are South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and perhaps China.

Note: The Marketing Year (MY) is January to December. For example MY2015 is January 2015 to December 2015 which is the same as the Calendar Year (CY). In this report MY2015 or CY2015 will just be referred to as 2015

Further Reading

You can view the USDA GAIN: New Zealand Livestock and Products Annual 2014 report by clicking here.


TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock

Our Sponsors


Seasonal Picks

Charismatic Cows and Beefcake Bulls