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Sheep and Lamb Slaughter Starts Year on High

11 February 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Average eastern states weekly lamb slaughter for January, collected by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, was 329,211 head, a rise of 14 per cent compared with the corresponding period last year.

According to Meat and Livestock Australia, even with the lift in direct-to-works sales, physical market throughput for January increased nine per cent year-on-year, possibly due to the dry start to the year.

Average weekly lamb slaughter for NSW in January was only two per cent higher year-on-year, while SA saw a three per cent reduction in slaughter for the same period.

Victoria continues to drive total slaughter, with their January kill 27 per cent higher year-on-year. The majority of states registered their largest slaughter points in the second week of January, due to the return of a full trading week after the holiday break.

The east coast, Northern Tablelands and some parts of the Central West of NSW registered timely rain in January, providing some relief.

The western half of NSW largely recorded below average rainfall, while some parts of Victoria registered the driest January on record.

Restocker buyers in NSW were noticeably more active after the rain, creating more competition between buyers.

Over-the-hook rates are still holding above physical market indicators, with producers looking to minimise their risk continuing to book lambs in direct-to-works.

During January, eastern states weekly sheep slaughter averaged 133,305 head, 47 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.

SA and Victoria lifted sheep slaughter levels by 21 per cent and 30 per cent year-on-year, respectively.

Significantly higher slaughter was again registered in NSW, with sheep slaughter 94 per cent higher, closely linking with a rise in physical market supply.

The second week of January saw some higher slaughter levels in all states, with the ongoing dry weather impacting on stocking rate decisions, and over-the-hook rates generally proving the most profitable.

It should be noted that rain in recent summers has hampered transport and stock movements, exaggerating the increases this year.

For producers looking at basing their selling decisions on how the season fares, the outlook remains relatively positive for WA, however, most parts of eastern and southern Australia are likely to have relatively poor growing conditions, pending a good autumn break.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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