Lamb tonnage pushes through half million

10 February 2016

December lamb production lifted 13% year-on-year, to 40,738 tonnes cwt, as a result of hot, dry conditions throughout Victoria, SA, Tasmania and WA over spring and early summer lifting slaughter numbers.

Subsequently, lamb production in 2015 increased 5% year-on-year, to 508,570 tonnes cwt – the first time Australia has produced in excess of half a million tonnes of lamb in a calendar year.

  • Victoria maintained its position as the prime lamb state, with production increasing 5% year-on-year to 223,181 tonnes cwt
  • NSW produced 119,756 tonnes cwt, up 2%
  • SA  produced 89,975 tonnes cwt, up 5%
  • WA produced 53,203 tonnes cwt, up 16%
  • Tasmania produced 15,033 tonnes cwt, down 6%
  • Queensland produced 7,423 tonnes cwt, down 10%

Despite unfavourable seasonal conditions across much of the south-east and many producers turning off lambs sooner than desired, carcase weight improvements continued to drive production gains. Reflecting the transition away from wool and towards prime lamb production, average lamb carcase weights in 2015 increased 2% year-on-year to 22.23kg. Since 1990, lamb carcase weights have, on average, increased 180 grams per year. This gain does not seem like a lot, but the gradual increase in carcase weights since 1990 now accounts for 100,000 tonnes cwt of the half a million tonnes cwt of lamb produced in 2015.

For more detailed and historical slaughter and production data, please navigate through MLA’s public database –

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