Lamb and sheep slaughter continues to decline in May

08 July 2015

Australian lamb slaughter reached 1.9 million head in May – down 5% from year-ago levels, although still 5% above the five-year average for the month (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Lamb production decreased to a lesser extent than slaughter (3%), at 42,941 tonnes cwt, offset by a 2% year-on-year lift in the average lamb carcase weight (22.45kg/head).

Victoria and Tasmania were the only states to register increases in lamb slaughter during May, up 1% and 7% year-on-year, respectively, to 864,753 head and 67,554 head. In NSW, lamb slaughter was back 6% on year-ago levels, to 421,138 head, while the number of lambs processed in SA declined 11%, to 338,985 head. WA lamb slaughter in May was 7% lower than the same time last year, at 209,491 head.

Australian sheep slaughter continued to decline in May, back 34% on the same time last year, at 521,593 head. Unlike lamb, sheep slaughter was 8% below the five-year average for May. Mutton production was 11,746 tonnes cwt for the month, back 32% year-on-year, and the lowest monthly volume since May 2013. The average sheep carcase weight was 22.52kg/head – up 2% on last year.

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