April 16, 2013
Ongoing dry conditions in southern regions of Australia continued to force producers to turn off lambs in large volumes throughout February. Meat and Livestock Australia reports that lamb slaughter remained high at 1.8 million head, up 10 per cent on February last year. Victoria, WA and Tasmania were the most affected with slaughter standing at 859,000, 168,000 and 60,000 head, to be up 23pc, 8pc and 96pc respectively on last year. Although Australian slaughter numbers have increased significantly since the beginning of the year, lamb production stood at 39,110 tonnes cwt, up only 5pc on production in February last year. This was the result of lower lamb carcase weights as diminishing feed stocks inhibit finishing activities. The average Australian lamb carcase in February weighed 21.70kg, down 1.04kg (4.6pc) on February 2012. March saw a slight improvement in weather conditions in NSW and WA, which could see a slowdown of turnoff, however, suitable rain continues to be absent from Victoria and eastern SA, which will build pressure on producers who are holding out for better prices.