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Lamb Slaughter Caps Strong Spring Production

21 January 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - The huge level of lamb production in Australia seen throughout 2013 continued in November, with a monthly total of 43,700 tonnes, up four per cent year-on-year – the third largest monthly production on record, according to data from Meat and Livestock Australia.

This capped record production in spring, at 126,522 tonnes, up nine per cent, or 10,000 tonnes on spring 2012.

MLA said that driving the higher production, total lamb slaughter was up four per cent on November last year, at 2.03 million head, underpinned by large turnoff in WA, Queensland and Tasmania, up 50 per cent, 12 per cent and 17 per cent, year-on-year, respectively.

Despite good rainfall in WA throughout spring, total lamb slaughter remained high, as pastures dried off leading into summer.

Alternatively, NSW and Victorian lamb slaughter remained firm year-on-year, with widespread dry conditions boosting supply.

After a 27 per cent year-on-year increase in sheep slaughter, at 964,000 head, and underpinned by greater slaughter levels across all states, mutton production during November increased 26 per cent year-on-year, to 22,812 tonnes– the highest November mutton production since 2007.

At the same time MLA analysts said that Australian lamb export values in November reached A$133.3 million, up 38 per cent year-on-year, the second highest monthly value on record, despite the volume of exports for same period increasing only six per cent - demonstrating the positive effect of the depreciated Australian dollar.

Lamb exports to the US during November generated A$31.3 million, a 38 per cent lift on the corresponding month in 2012, while returns from the Middle East were not far behind, valued at A$31.2 million, and up 20 per cent year-on-year. Interestingly, despite 1,796 tonnes more lamb shipped to the Middle East compared to the US, the US value was higher, indicative of the more valuable cuts preferred by the latter market.

The value of shipments to China in November almost doubled compared to 2012, reaching A$20.6 million, while exports to the EU returned A$13.4 million, up 45 per cent year-on-year.

Lamb exports to South East Asia were valued at A$6.9 million in November, an increase of 24 per cent year-on-year, while exports to Japan and Canada returned A$5.7 million and A$4.2million, respectively, up 60 per cent and 11 per cent on the same time in 2012.

Mutton export values in November surpassed the previous record, soaring to A$71.9 million, up 53 per cent year-on-year.

This considerable increase was largely underpinned by an almost three-fold year-on-year increase in the value of November exports to China, at A$27.2 million, as well as a 56 per cent increase in the shipment value to South East Asia compared to the same period in 2012, totalling A$7.7 million.

Mutton exports to the EU generated A$4.7 million, more than twice the value of exports in November 2012, while returns from shipments to the Middle East decreased 37 per cent year-on-year, to A$11.5 million.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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