Reduction in Australian sheep slaughter in 2014-15

19 August 2015

Following 12 months of high sheep slaughter during 2013-14, the number of sheep processed in Australia in 2014-15 declined 10% year-on-year, to 9 million head. Despite the decline, sheep slaughter remained 25% above the five-year average.

All states recorded lower kill numbers in 2014-15, compared with 2013-14:

  • Victorian sheep slaughter was back 3% year-on-year, to 3.5 million head
  • NSW sheep slaughter decreased 14%, to 2.1 million head
  • There were 14% fewer sheep processed in SA, at 1.3 million head
  • Sheep slaughter in WA was 15% lower, at 1.3 million head
  • Queensland sheep kill was down 19%, to 470,000 head
  • Tasmanian sheep slaughter contracted 10%, to 227,000 head

A 5% lift in the average sheep carcase weight during 2014-15, to 23.64kg/head, was not enough to offset the decline in slaughter. Australian mutton production was back 6% on the previous year, at 214,446 tonnes cwt.

While sheep slaughter has been historically high, and as a result, the core breeding flock has been contracting, lamb marking rates have been continuously improving. This is important, and will need to continue improving to enable the industry to generate consistent supplies of lambs and sheep throughout the year, and from year-to-year.

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