Seasonal boost for Australia’s sheep industry

High prices and a bumper spring for pasture growth have created a potent mix for a longer term positive outlook for Australia’s sheep industry, according to Rural Bank and Rural Finance’s 2016 Australian Sheep Update.

The report, launched by specialist insights team Ag Answers, provides producers and industry with a concise analysis of the Australian sheep sector.

While Australia’s sheep meat production for July 2016 was 20 per cent lower than July 2015, the national trade lamb indicator price is 11 per cent higher than this time in 2015.

Andrew Smith, General Manager Agribusiness for Rural Bank and Rural Finance, said that although prices have begun their seasonal spring price drop, the longer term outlook for the sector is extremely positive.

“With continued above-average rainfall expected for most of the country right through to the end of the year, we expect strong demand and tight supply to provide support in keeping prices above average as we enter the final quarter of 2016,” he said.

“While the widespread wet conditions have affected stock movement, all-in-all the increased rainfall has proved to be much more of a help than a hindrance for Australian sheep producers.”

With regards to lamb exports, the new report revealed a five percent increase in the volume, but a 1.5 per cent decrease in the total value of lamb exports when compared with the same intervening period in 2015.

However, the value of exports to the top five markets has increased, with US demand for Australian lamb continuing to grow strongly.

The new report also revealed Australian lamb slaughter and production for the year to August remained similar to the same period in 2015, despite the drop in lamb production levels in May to July 2016.

While the drop in production levels is well below the levels seen in the previous years for the same period, heavier carcase weights this spring are expected to partially offset the effect lower slaughter numbers will have on production.

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