Despite a strong first half of 2017, the outlook for the Australian sheep and lamb market for the remainder of the year is somewhat uncertain. It has been a very dry winter for many key supply regions across the country, and the prospect of receiving a break in the season before spring arrives is looking less and less likely.
Furthermore, processor capacity has been reduced with temporary and permanent plant closures, due to limited supplies over the past year. This poses a risk for when lamb and sheep availability does begin to ramp up – particularly if seasonal conditions don't improve.
Many of the revisions to the August update of the Australian Sheep Industry Projections were influenced by heavier lamb and sheep carcase weights in 2017, which have flowed on to increased production and export volumes.
Additionally, while there has been a strong intent to retain older and replacement ewes and wethers over the last 12 months, these animals are expected to start coming back through the system – resulting in an upward revision to sheep slaughter from what was forecast in the April update.
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