Lamb Processing

Heavier lambs give late-2015 boost to Australian production

Sheep Central, January 20, 2016

Australia’s lambs are getting heavier

AUSTRALIA’S average lamb carcase weight jumped three percent in November 2015, contributing to a 4pc lift in monthly production, compared to the previous year.

Meat & Livestock Australia said the average lamb carcase weight in November was 22.2kg – also an increase of 3pc on the five-year average for the month.

Carcase weights have gradually been getting heavier over the past 15 years, due to better ewe management programs, genetic advances, the transition towards meat-producing breeds, and evolving end-user specifications, MLA said.

The higher November production figure of 43,862 tonnes was 9pc higher than the five-year average for the month and followed lower year-on-year volumes for the first two months of spring.

Lamb slaughter in November was up 2pc on the corresponding month the year before and up 6pc on the five-year average, at 1.98 million head, MLA said. Producers reportedly turned new season lambs off around a month earlier than usual in spring 2015 due to concerns of not having enough water and feed to carry them through the summer months.

The January to November lamb production for Australia last year was 467,832 tonnes, up 4pc on the corresponding 11 months the previous year, with slaughter 2pc higher over the same period, at 21.03 million head.

MLA’s 2016 Australian Sheep Industry Projections have forecast lamb slaughter to reach 21.5 million head this year – down 3pc on the 2015 estimate. As a result of the tighter supplies, Australian lamb production is projected to decline 2pc to 482,000 tonnes – slightly offset by an expected 1pc increase in the average lamb carcase weight for the year. To read the 2016 Australian Sheep Industry Projections, click here.


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