AUSTRALIA - Australian lamb production in 2014 edged 4 per cent higher than the previous year’s record volume, reaching 486,465 tonnes cwt, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
Lamb slaughter also surpassed the highs of the previous year by two per cent, at 22.25 million head, which was compounded by a two per cent increase in the average lamb carcase weight for the year, to 21.92 kg/head.
MLA said the higher levels of slaughter and production in 2014 were the result of three consecutive years of flock expansion, followed by two years of ‘below average’ rainfall in most key lamb producing regions.
Export prices have also been relatively strong, which has encouraged processors to continue purchasing large numbers of lambs.
When compared to the five-year averages, Australian lamb production and slaughter in 2014 were 14 per cent (59,915 tonnes cwt) and 13 per cent (2.5 million head) higher, respectively.
The average Australian lamb carcase weight was also 1kg/head heavier in 2014, in comparison to the average for the previous five year period.
The overall rise in national lamb slaughter in 2014 was led by 7 per cent and 5 per cent year-on-year increases in NSW (5.1 million head) and SA (3.7 million head), respectively, and lambs processed in Tasmania (777,043 head) were 8 per cent higher than last year.
Victorian lamb slaughter (10 million head) remained relatively unchanged in 2014, compared to 2013, while numbers were back 9 per cent in WA (2.2 million head). Queensland slaughter eased two per cent year-on-year, to 386,722 head.
Looking out to the year ahead, lamb slaughter and production is forecast to contract considerably in 2015, albeit coming off the back of a record year.
Lamb production is then likely to begin increasing again out to 2018, underpinned both by higher slaughter and slightly heavier carcase weights.
TheMeatSite News Desk