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A review of the world sheepmeat market: Australia, New Zealand and Argentina

Blyth, N.
Discussion Paper
Fields of Research
The majority of the world's sheepmeat exports come from the Southern Hemisphere, where production is based on extensive grazing systems. The three main exporters are Australia, N.Z. and Argentina. Australia's sheep industry is based primarily on wool production, with mutton generally a by product. Exports consist of mutton sales to Japan and South Korea and, more recently, sizeable but irregular sales to the U.S.S.R. and the Middle East. Large numbers of live sheep are also exported to the Middle East. N.Z. 's industry has been centred on lamb production, though wool and mutton are important secondary enterprises. The main market for N.Z. lamb has traditionally been the EEC, in particular the U.K., though reliance on this market has diminished. Sales have been diversified into a number of other markets. Argentina's sheep industry has declined considerably in recent times. Sheepmeat supply is determined largely by wool prices, and relative returns from beef production. The country's political and economic problems have tended to discourage the industry, and foot and mouth disease is prevalent. Exports have fallen to low levels, but the main markets are still the EEC and the Middle East. The outlook is for further expansion of exports from N.Z. and Australia, but there is no sign of an up turn in the Argentinian sheep industry.