South-eastern states drive higher lamb slaughter in 2014-15

19 August 2015

After a much higher than anticipated start to 2015, Australian lamb slaughter during the 2014-15 fiscal year reached 22.87 million head – 4% higher than the previous year, and 15% above the five-year average (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

Following what was historically high lamb slaughter in 2013-14, the large number of lambs that continued to enter the market ­– during the latter half of 2014-15 in particular – indicates a considerable improvement in lamb marking rates in recent years.

The rise in slaughter was driven by increases across all south-eastern states, while the number of lambs processed in Queensland and WA over the past 12 months declined year-on-year.

During 2014-15:

  • Victorian lamb slaughter lifted 6%, to 10.4 million head
  • NSW lamb slaughter was 7% higher year-on-year, at 5.2 million head
  • The number of lambs processed in SA rose 4%, to 3.8 million head
  • WA lamb kill was back 1%, to 2.4 million head
  • There were 780,000 lambs processed in Tasmania, up 2% on the previous year
  • Lamb slaughter in Queensland declined 23%, to 313,000 head

The average lamb carcase weight also registered an increase for 2014-15, to 22.15kg/head – up 2% year-on-year. As a result, total Australian lamb production was 7% higher compared to the previous year, at 506,605 tonnes carcase weight (cwt).

MLA’s forecast for lamb slaughter and production in 2015 (calendar year) is 22.25 million head, and 492,000 tonnes cwt, respectively. More information on the outlook for the lamb and sheep industry is available from the industry projections.

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