AUSTRALIA - Consistent with the high-levels of drought-induced turnoff across major sheep producing regions over the past six months, Australian lamb production during the first quarter of 2014 (January to March) totalled 118,607 tonnes cwt, only a slight lift (three per cent) year-on-year, although a 14 per cent increase on the five-year average for the March quarter according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Meat and Livestock Australia said that lamb production in Victoria (51,486 tonnes cwt) and NSW (26,889 tonnes cwt) was notably higher in the March quarter, compared to the five-year average, up 19% and 15%, respectively, while SA and WA levels remained firm.
Lamb slaughter for the March quarter totalled 5.4 million head, tracking steady compared to last year, but registering a 13 per cent jump on the five-year average during the three month period.
Interestingly, there was very little change in the average lamb carcase weight for the 2014 March quarter (21.94kg/head) compared to the average for the past five years (21.79kg/head), MLA said.
The high levels of mutton production that were seen throughout the last few months of 2013 continued during the March quarter of 2014, totalling 66,531 tonnes cwt for the period – up 22 per cent year-on-year and up 51 per cent on the five-year average.
The surge in production was underpinned by slaughter reaching 3.03 million head during the first quarter – 550,680 head higher than the corresponding period last year.
TheMeatSite News Desk