Key figures:

From January to May, Australia exported 110,775 tonnes of lamb and 57,655 tonnes of mutton, 5% and 7% higher than the same time in 2021, respectively.

Australia has increased the sheep herd by 2.2% since the February release, with the national flock expected to reach 76 million head by 2022.

Australia has updated its lamb slaughter predictions for 2022 up by 2%, or 400,000 head, to 22 million head, the highest amount since 2018.

Notable Mentions

One high-quality producer that impressed us this season was Australian Lamb Co. Their production and processes prove why they are able to handle so many lamb brands. As a premium lamb company and one of the industry’s leading lamb producers, Australian Lamb Co is a brand to watch in the coming years. Our hats off to the teams down in Colac and Sunshine in Victoria.

Season Outcomes

According to Australia’s latest sheep industry projections report, favourable seasonal circumstances have supported above-average lambing percentages and a bigger breeding ewe flock, which continue to fuel the national sheep flock’s expansion.

A robust start to the season in Western Australia, along with above-average rainfall patterns in most sheep areas of New South Wales and Victoria, will increase the national flock by 7.2%, or 5.1 million head, to 76 million head in 2022.

As a result of this expansion, lamb output is expected to reach a new high of 549,000 tonnes in 2022, with greater carcase weights driving the rise.

International demand for Australian sheepmeat remains strong, with export markets surpassing year-to-date figures. The big 2021 lamb cohort, higher carcase weights, and consistent mutton slaughter rates are bringing favourable supplies to numerous major markets.

According to a spokesperson and senior market information analyst at Australian Livestock, strong export growth in emerging markets such as Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea indicates the varied variety of places where Australian lamb and mutton may travel.

“In addition to burgeoning Asian markets, the United States has swiftly emerged as Australia’s leading destination for lamb exports,” the spokesperson said.

From January through May, the United States imported 35,053 tonnes of sheepmeat, 3% more than in the same period in 2021. Lamb accounted for about 87% of shipments to the United States, a 13% rise.

“With abundant sheepmeat production and strong worldwide demand for Australian products in major established and growing countries, the future for the Australian sheepmeat sector is positive.”

“It is clear in terms of both production and export that the national flock has recovered from the rebuilding and COVID-19 events,” the spokesperson said.

National flock expansion and slaughter

Australia updated the sheep flock higher by 2.2% compared to the February report due to robust seasons across the country. This means that the flock is likely to increase by 7.2% to 76 million head this year. Australia anticipates a continued rise to 78.75m in 2023, which is 23% or 14.75m head greater than the 100-year low seen in 2020.

Australia has updated its February predictions for 2022 lamb slaughter up by 2%, or 400,000 head, to 22 million head. This is because solid production fundamentals are generating a second big lamb cohort, which will enhance supply.

Carcase dimensions

On February predictions, average lamb carcase weights are expected to continue firm, reaching 24.9kg/head in 2022.

Australia has reduced carcase weights by 2% or 500g to 24.6kg/head for 2023, as seasonal circumstances are predicted to relax and revert to the long-term norm. However, superior genetics and on-farm production management will guarantee that carcase weights remain historically high in 2023.

“With carcase weights staying at historic highs, the Australian sheep flock is well positioned to continue delivering high-quality protein to both local and foreign markets.”

“Industry confidence has been boosted further by ideal seasonal circumstances, substantial export demand, and high market pricing, indicating exciting times ahead,” the spokesperson added.