Stanley Vale Merino Stud - News & Views

Australian lamb production to match 2014 record

Updated July 29, 2015 08:55:59

Dry conditions and the weaker Australian dollar are on track to push 2015 national lamb production to equal last year's record level.

Meat and Livestock Australia's (MLA) third quarter sheep industry projections predict lamb slaughters to reach 22.25 million head, the record production volume set in 2014.

MLA manager of market information Ben Thomas said slaughter rates were driven up by a drier than expected June conditions, particularly in Western Australia and Victoria.

But Mr Thomas said the rise in production was also buoyed by a weaker Australian dollar and high demand from the US and the Middle East.

"What's really encouraging is that because the Aussie dollar has weakened quite considerably over the last six months, the export values are quite strong as well," he said.

"So the US the average price is about $10.60 per kilo, which is up 13 per cent year-on-year."

Mr Thomas said he was surprised to learn that carcass weights were higher than average, despite the dry conditions that caused producers to send larger volumes to be processed.

"Carcass weights are actually up 700 grams this year compared to last year," he said.

"That's a really encouraging sign for the industry, I think that producers are now able to finish lambs to heavier weights."

Mr Thomas said the increased production had led to reduced sheep flock numbers around the country.

"We're back to what's estimated to be a real core breeding flock," he said.

"There's not really that many surplus sheep around at the moment."

The drop in flock size has seen mutton export volumes drop by 20 per cent year-on-year.

But Mr Thomas said the industry should not be concerned about the smaller flock.

"It's a trend we've seen for the last two decades. The flock's down now at around 70 million head," he said.

"But we're producing much more lamb from that, so the ewes are becoming much more efficient."

Sheep meat volumes shipped to the US in the first six months of this year were up 9 per cent on last year, while shipments to the Middle East rose by 17 per cent.

But exports to China and the EU were down for the same period.

Topics: sheep-production, trade, australia, bunbury-6230

First posted July 28, 2015 07:17:44

Original author: Bridget Fitzgerald



Rate this blog entry:
Pest fence improves productivity
Farm safety doesn't cost, it pays

Related Posts