19 February 1998
NZ farming incomes hit in switch from wool to meat

REDUCED world demand for coarse wools has forced New Zealand farmers to switch to lean meat production – but this has failed to stem the fall in farm incomes.

TheFinancial Times reports prices for coarse crossbred wools have fallen to their lowest levels since 1991. And when inflation is allowed for, returns are the lowest for decades.

Prices have slipped steadily over the past decade while returns from lamb meat have jumped on export markets, hastening the switch towards meat.

Many farmers now regard wool as a by-product and produce far less of the more desirable medium and fine crossbred fleeces which are 17% cheaper than a year ago.

  • Financial Times 19/02/98 page 12