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Lamb flap price rises to previous record

NZN 6/02/2017 Tina Morrison

Strong demand from China combined with limited supply has seen the price for the humble lamb flap rise to match its previous record high.

The price for lamb flaps advanced to $US5.50 ($NZ7.51) per kilogram in January, from $US5.40/kg in December, matching the previous record set in January 2014, according to AgriHQ's monthly sheep and beef report.

Poor lamb growth rates through spring and early summer combined with improved grass growth has crimped the number of New Zealand lambs being sent for slaughter, pushing up the price of all lamb cuts.

Lamb export volumes in December fell 25 per cent from the year earlier to 20,580 tonnes, the lowest level for the month since 2011.

Volumes exported to China were down 40 per cent as demand for lamb flaps, a key ingredient for traditional hotpot dishes, remained strong heading into the Chinese New Year holiday period which started late January.

"Moderate production levels, the transition from frozen to chilled production and low inventories held by processors have all continued to stifle the volume of frozen lamb available to international buyers," AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his report.

"In-market prices for flaps have kept nudging upwards to the point where they are now in line with the highest level recorded by AgriHQ in the eight years prices have been collected. The short-term outlook is for a similar or slightly firmer market in the coming months."

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