Lamb Processing

Quarterly national lamb slaughter highest on record – ABS

Sheep Central, May 17, 2024

AUSTRALIA has recorded its highest quarterly lamb slaughter on record from January to March this year of almost 7 million head.

The latest livestock products data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that last quarter, Australian meatworks processed 6,935,700 lambs.

The data, analysed by Meat & Livestock Australia, also shows that the January-March quarter broke production tonnage records for lamb at 167,263 tonnes, up 8 percent on last quarter and 48pc last year.

MLA’s senior market information analyst Erin Lukey said the higher levels of production and recorded carcase weights reflect conditions that occurred toward the end of last year.

“Across the board we saw carcase weights for lamb lift 5pc quarter-to quarter to 24kg, which equates to the five-year average.

“This return is after the three-year lows recorded last quarter,” Ms Lukey said.

Lamb carcase weights lifted across all states, according to the ABS.

“This is partly attributable to the end of season turnoff of older lambs, and improved weather conditions recorded in the latter months of 2023, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria,” Ms Lukey said.

MLA said Victoria had its second highest lamb slaughter on record, only following last quarter’s record. It also had its highest lamb production for the second year in a row, while New South Wales recorded an 18pc increase in slaughter and 25pc jump in production.

Western Australia also had its second highest lamb production quarter on record, as well as its second highest quarter for slaughter.

MLA said national mutton slaughter was also at its highest since December 2019 at 2,784,000 head. However, carcase weights on average across the country fell 5pc to 24.9kg, with the biggest drop felt in Western Australia where weights eased 9pc to 24.5kg.

MLA said the value of sheep meat slaughtered increased 41pc quarter-to quarter to $1.257 billion, which was the largest since December 2021. This equated to $129 /head per animal, which was the largest since Q2 2023.


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