AUSTRALIA - Despite a drier than average month, sheep slaughter in February was 20 per cent lower year-on-year, with 852,651 head processed according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Meat and Livestock Australia said that this was, however, in comparison to a record slaughter year, and February numbers remained 19 per cent above the five-year average.
The majority of states registered a decline in sheep slaughter for the month, with Victoria back 12 per cent year-on-year, to 375,170 head, and New South Wales contracting 28 per cent, to total 168,650 head.
Queensland’s February kill was back 19 per cent on the previous year, to 41,218 head, while South Australia and Western Australia were both 29 per cent lower, on 113,078 head and 123,162 head, respectively.
In contrast, Tasmanian sheep slaughter lifted 11 per cent on last year, with 31,373 head processed.
Carcase yields were up 5 per cent year-on-year, averaging 23kg/head, which saw mutton production decline at a slower rate than slaughter.
Nationally, February production eased 16 per cent on the same period last year, to 19,590 tonnes cwt. Victorian mutton production was 6 per cent lower, at 8,395 tonnes cwt, while New South Wales fell 20 per cent, to 4,089 tonnes cwt.
Mutton production in South Australia declined to 2,825 tonnes cwt (back 27 per cent year-on-year), while Western Australia eased to 2,743 tonnes cwt (back 31 per cent) and Tasmania remained steady on 556 tonnes cwt.
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