Spring lamb slaughter eases year-on-year

10 December 2015


Australian lamb slaughter in October – typically one of the highest processing months of the year – reached 2.1 million head, down 2% from year-ago levels, but 13% higher than the five-year average.

The overall decline in national slaughter in October was driven by lower year-on-year kills across all states, except WA:

  • Victoria – 932,664 head, down 3%
  • NSW – 448,527 head, down 5%
  • SA – 364,886 head, down 2%
  • Tasmania & Queensland – 64,004 head (down 13%) and 33,946 head (down 2%), respectively
  • WA – 272,105 head – up 10%

A slight increase in the national average lamb carcase weight for the month, at 22.02kg/head, saw Australian lamb production in October ease to a marginally lesser extent than slaughter (back 1% year-on-year), to 46,596 tonnes cwt.

The number of lambs processed during the January to October period was 2% higher than the year before, at 19.1 million head.

Producers have reportedly been turning off new season lambs around a month earlier than usual this year, which will likely see lamb supplies tighten further in early 2016. MLA’s Sheep Industry Projections forecast national lamb slaughter to dip to 21.5 million head in 2016, and, as a result, lamb production is expected to decline 2.2%, to 482,000 tonnes cwt. 

To read MLA’s Sheep Industry Projections 2016, please CLICK HERE.

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