Spring lamb production eases

18 November 2015

The first month of spring saw Australian lamb production 5% lower than the same time last year, at 42,252 tonnes cwt (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Compared to the five-year average for the month, however, September’s production volume was up 15%. This brought the 2015-to-date total to 377,374 tonnes cwt – 4% higher than the corresponding nine month period in 2014.

Underpinning the decline in September production, national lamb slaughter recorded a 4% fall year-on-year, to 1.95 million head – although in the long term context, this is still 14% higher than the September five-year average. The total number of lambs processed in Australia for the January to September period amounted to 16.9 million head – 3% higher than last year.

On a state-by-state basis, compared to last year, lamb slaughter for the January to September period in:

  • Victoria was 7.7 million head – up 4%
  • NSW was 3.8 million head – steady
  • SA was 2.8 million head – up 1%
  • WA was 1.8 million head – up 18%
  • Tasmania was 549,441 head – down 6%
  • Queensland was 223,743 head – down 25%

For the first seven months of this year, the average Australian lamb carcase weight exceeded 22kg/head – a sequence not seen since 2011 and 2012, following back-to-back widespread wet years. The average lamb carcase weight in September, however, dropped back to 21.63kg/head – 1% lower the same time last year.

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