AUSTRALIA - Australian mutton production in 2014 reached almost 233,992 tonnes cwt, an eight per cent rise on production levels of the previous year and 39 per cent above the five-year average, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
The lift in overall production was assisted largely by a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in Victoria, to 84,856 tonnes cwt. Both NSW and WA production remained unchanged on year-ago levels, at 57,444 tonnes cwt and 34,428 tonnes cwt, respectively.
Queensland produced 11,661 tonnes cwt of mutton in 2014 (up three per cent year-on-year), while SA produced 40,837 tonnes cwt (up 13 per cent year-on-year).
The only state to record a decline in mutton production was Tasmania, easing 16 per cent year-on-year, to 4,767 tonnes cwt.
The increase in mutton production in 2014 was driven by higher sheep turnoff, with drought conditions prevailing over much of the country.
Australian sheep slaughter stood at 10.1 million head in 2014, up five per cent on the previous year.
Victoria processed 15 per cent more sheep, totalling 3.8 million head, while SA slaughter lifted 10 per cent year-on-year, to 1.6 million head.
Slaughter in NSW declined four per cent in 2014, while numbers through Queensland processing facilities remained relatively stable year-on-year, totalling 548,267 sheep. WA and Tasmania both recorded reduced slaughter levels in 2014, back two per cent and 14 per cent year-on-year, to 1.5 million head and 248,802 head, respectively.
Mutton production registered a larger increase than slaughter in 2014 due to gains in sheepmeat yields. Average national sheep carcase weights were three per cent higher than 2013, at 23.17kg/head.
The four per cent rise carcase weights through NSW offset declines in slaughter and kept production at a steady level year-on-year.
TheMeatSite News Desk