MLA sheep industry projections – July 2016 update
25 July 2016
A greater number of intended lamb sales over the coming months has led to revisions in the 2016 Australian lamb and production forecasts in MLA’s July Sheep Industry Projections.
The forecast for 2016 lamb slaughter has been revised slightly higher than April estimates, to 23 million head – which will become the fourth consecutive year with a record number of lambs processed. Similar average carcase weights to last year will result in lamb production in Australia also hitting a record high for the year. Expectations are that lamb slaughter will rise after 2017, with the 2020 forecast likely to reach 24 million head.
A trend identified in the July projections was more consistent monthly lamb slaughter over the past two and a half years, which will result in a higher probability of more consistent market trends going forward. The reduced volatility in supply is reflected in average pricing in recent years also becoming less volatile. That is, with price being a factor of two moving parts – supply and demand – and with supply being more consistent, price volatility has also reduced. If these trends continue, it will be great news for the entire supply chain.
In line with rising production, Australian lamb exports in 2016 are forecast to be 3% higher than last year, at 240,000 tonnes shipped weight (swt). In contrast, with tighter sheep availability across the country, mutton shipments for 2016 are forecast to remain 11% lower than year-ago levels, at 135,000 tonnes swt.
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