Strong foundations for Australian sheepmeat industry in 2017

06 December 2016

As discussed in MLA’s recently released Sheep Industry Projections 2017, lower lamb marking rates and fewer ewes joined has led to MLA’s forecast for Australian lamb slaughter to decline in 2017, and the result will cascade to lower production and exports.

The number of lambs processed in 2017 is expected to trend back towards 22 million head. While this is a decline year-on-year, 22 million head is still in line with the long-term growth trend observed over the past decade.

The Australian domestic market is anticipated to remain the largest consumer and account for 48% of production, with many encouraging signs coming from the market. On the export front, Australian lamb shipments are anticipated to ease 4% year-on-year in 2017, to 220,000 tonnes shipped weight (swt). While there are strong demand signals from the domestic market, internationally, signals are mixed.

Reduced supplies and the apparent resilience from the domestic consumer are expected to provide a strong foundation for the Australian sheep and lamb markets in 2017. Despite mixed signals from the major Australian export markets, there are still many willing to procure Australian product and New Zealand lamb and mutton exports are anticipated to fall further. The result may be a fifth consecutive year of higher year-on-year prices, or if not, at least levels similar to those of 2016.

For further insights on the domestic and export markets, follow this link to read the full Sheep Industry Projections 2017.

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