PRELIMINARY results have been received from the June MLA/AWI Sheepmeat and Wool Survey, which attracted more than 1700 respondents from across the country.
The survey results reinforced that the Australian sheep flock is in a rebuild phase, with the number of ewes and lambs on hand up on 2020 levels.
As of 30 June, there were 41.6 million head of breeding ewes – up 1pc, or 400,000, on 2020 levels. On a regional basis, all states experienced growth in ewe numbers except SA and Victoria.
There was also a significant jump in lamb numbers on hand, up 35pc to 19.7 million head. This increase in lamb numbers is expected to flow on to higher lamb sales, which are forecast to hit 7.2 million head over the next four months, a rise of 33pc on 2020 levels.
Impressively, the increase in lambs on hand has been achieved through higher marking rates, but with less ewes joined. In June 2021, 1pc more lambs were marked from 6pc less ewes joined. This was possible as marking rates increased 6pc to 101pc across all breeds.
Further reinforcing the strength of the rebuild are the statistics about producer intentions.
The survey found that 92pc of producers nationally are going to either increase or maintain their flocks over the next 12 months.
These numbers demonstrate that the national flock rebuild is underway and expected to continue into next year. The increase of ewes on hand is a result of producers retaining more breeding stock to rebuild the herd.
The lambs on hand increased on the back of favourable seasonal conditions, which helped increase marking rates, especially due to pregnant ewe nutrition.
SA was the only state that had ewe numbers on hand and rebuild intentions drop, partly due to drier conditions in the state.
Full survey results will be released next week, along with a breakdown on the growth in different breeds.