Lamb slaughter ramps up ahead of spring

08 October 2015


With the seasonal peak supply period approaching, the final month of winter saw lamb slaughter nationally lift 2% year-on-year, at 1.88 million head (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

Very dry conditions across Victoria during the month were a likely contributing factor to the decline in the national average lamb carcase weight during August, as Victoria’s production accounted for nearly half of the national production total for the month.

The Australian average lamb carcase weight was 2% lower year-on-year, at 21.59kg/head, which offset the higher slaughter, and the subsequent total volume of lamb produced registered very little change on year-ago levels, at 40,552 tonnes cwt.

This brings the year-to-August total number of lambs processed in Australia to 14.98 million head – which is 4% higher than last year and 15% higher than the five-year average for the eight month period. As a result, the volume of lamb produced over the same time is also considerably higher (16%) than the long-term average, totalling 288,272 tonnes cwt so far this year.

On a state-by-state basis, for the year-to-August:

  • Lamb slaughter in Victoria was 6.8 million head (up 5% year-on-year), and production totalled 147,340 tonnes cwt (up 6%)
  • NSW lamb slaughter was 3.4 million head (up 1%), and production totalled 80,344 tonnes cwt (up 4%)
  • SA lamb slaughter was 2.1 million head (back 12%), and production totalled 50,792 tonnes cwt (down 10%)
  • WA lamb slaughter was 1.6 million head (up 20%), and production totalled 34,596 tonnes cwt (up 21%)
  • Lamb slaughter in Tasmania was 501,914 head (down 3%), and production totalled 10,111 tonnes cwt (back 5%)
  • Queensland lamb slaughter was 185,796 head (back 30%), and production totalled 4,442 tonnes cwt (down 22%)

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