Counting sheep: producers urged to complete new national survey

Terry Sim, February 3, 2016
AUSTRALIA’S sheep industry will get an up-to-date indication of carryover lamb numbers and ram-joining trends from the first MLA and AWI wool and sheep meat survey for 2016.
The survey is now open online for all sheep producers until February 29, 2016, and the first results will be available in April in the first of MLA’s triannual industry projections.
MLA and AWI conduct the critical survey in February, June and October of each year, to assess the production capability of the Australian sheep flock. The survey is posted to some producers in slightly different areas within regions to avoid “survey fatigue”, but MLA this week called on all producers to participate in the survey online.
MLA market information manager Ben Thomas said the survey usually had a consistent response, but the more producers who completed the survey, the more accurate production forecasts would be.
“It is the hard data behind our industry forecasts.”
Mr Thomas said the triannual survey was needed because of the speed with which seasonal and market conditions change.
He said the survey was a good measure of the level of Merino-Merino joinings versus maternal or terminal matings. Mr Thomas was also looking forward to getting a good grasp on how many lambs will be available going forward as a production driver.
MLA said the survey results have been accurately representing production trends since 2010 and allow the research, development and marketing body to generate better forward looking information for the industry, and provide breeding, marketing and on-farm support initiatives.
MLA said ongoing productivity improvements in the Australian sheep meat industry highlight the importance of monitoring production and producer intentions, so that producers can make more efficient decisions based on data and evidence. The survey results are also crucial to wool production forecasts by AWI.
MLA has asked that all survey responses be submitted by February 29 2016. All responses received by this date will be entered in the draw* to win a Caltex StarCash card worth $1,000 (*view terms and conditions).


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