July mutton slaughter declines to five-year low

15 September 2016

Mutton slaughter during July totalled 301,992 head – almost half the number that were processed the same time last year (back 41%) and similar to levels not reported since July 2011 (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

The seasonal decline in slaughter numbers was accentuated this year – following high levels of drought induced turn-off in recent years, coupled with above average winter rainfall across most of the eastern seaboard.

Mutton production declined in line with slaughter, easing 41% from year-ago levels to 7,235 tonnes cwt. However, production levels were assisted by heavier carcases, which averaged 24kg during July, 1kg above the five-year average.

2016 year-to-July slaughter consignments were 12% lower year-on-year however production decreased 10%, to 94,067 tonnes cwt over the same period.

Slaughter declined across the major sheep producing states in July:

  • Victoria processed 157,395 head of mutton, 40% less year-on-year
  • NSW slaughter eased 33% to 79,425 head
  • Slaughter in SA dropped 34%, totalling 34,253 head
  • WA slaughtered 31% fewer sheep year-on-year, processing 27,598 head

However, MLA reported eastern states slaughter for August and the early stages of September suggest the slaughter throughput has reached its seasonal low point and has started to lift coming into spring.

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