Aussie lamb and mutton production declines in July

16 September 2015

Australian lamb production declined 4% year-on-year in July, to 38,362 tonnes cwt, largely on the back of reduced slaughter.

However, while there was a reduction for the month, year-to-July figures show lamb production was actually up 7% year-on-year and 17% on the five-year average, at 294,570 tonnes cwt. Underpinning the increase was a 4% year-on-year rise in slaughter, at 13.1 million head, while at the same time, average lamb carcase weights have risen 2%, to 22.5kg/head – a particularly interesting trend, considering the extent of drought conditions for many regions.

Mutton production continued to trend lower year-on-year, with volumes for July at 12,284 tonnes cwt, back 4%. This takes the year-to-July figure to 104,993 tonnes cwt, down 20%.

In a similar fashion to lamb, the primary driver behind lower mutton production for the year has been fewer sheep slaughtered, with the 4.57 million head processed down 20% from the corresponding period last year. Also similar to lamb, partially offsetting the lower slaughter was heavier carcases, with mutton averaging almost 1kg/head heavier this year, at 23kg.

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