Aussie lamb and mutton exports to decline
Australia has a chance to faster rebuild its national flock as data collected by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) shows a decline in slaughter figures and exports volumes. this year, sheep and lamb slaughter are both expected to drop from 2019 levels, down 33% to 6.3 million head and 6% to 20.3 million head respectively, according to MLA Market Information Analyst, Penny Graham.
"We anticipate a slight increase in lamb carcase weights for 2020, up 0.7kg/head on 2019 levels to average 24kg/head, and sheep carcase weights to increase to 24.89kg/head up 0.7kg/head from 2019,” Ms Graham said.
“However, increasing weights will not be sufficient to offset the decline in slaughter, with lamb production in 2020 expected to decline 3% to 487,000 tonnes carcase weight (cwt) and sheep production to contract 31% to 157,000 cwt. Though the impact of consecutive drought years has contracted the overall sheep and lamb supply, we do anticipate improved seasonal conditions in early 2020 will filter through the spring flush and establish a rebuilding period from 2021," she continued.
Uncertainty in the global market is also causing a decline in volumes exported. "Lamb exports in 2020 have been revised lower to reach 269,000 tonnes shipped weight (swt), down 5% on 2019 volumes, while mutton exports are expected to decline 32% to 126,000 tonnes swt. Global market conditions remain rather unpredictable, particularly due to the impact of COVID-19 and its influence upon foodservice industries around the world. As such, the flow of Australian sheepmeat exports through the remainder of the year is expected to continue to fluctuate as markets move through different stages of their COVID-19 recovery," added Penny Graham.
This year, the Australian national flock was estimated at 63.7 million heads, the lowest level in 116 years.
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