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Drought Pushes Australian Sheep Slaughter to Five Year High

12 August 2014

AUSTRALIA - Persistent hot, dry weather has stimulated sheep turnoff this fiscal year, taking cull rates up 23 per cent to 10.1 million, the highest since 2008-9.

This is according to market analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia this week who have described the last year’s sheep slaughter as ‘consistently high’.

With the exception of Tasmania, all states have reported higher ewe slaughter.

Victoria’s throughput is 33 per cent higher to 3.6 million head, while New South Wales and South Australia are up 18 per cent and 30 per cent higher at 2.5 million and 1.6 million respectively.

“Hot and dry conditions over summer, particularly in New South Wales, stimulated high sheep turnoff and also had a considerable impact on joining rates,” the MLA announced today (12 August).

“Even though seasonal conditions in WA improved over the first half of 2014, sheep slaughter remained high – largely attributed to the expansion of cropping operations due to the timing and extent of the autumn rainfall.”

Mutton production is consequently 24 per cent higher, totalling 227,891 tonnes hundredweight.

MLA added that older ewes retained in previous wetter years have been actively reduced by farmers this time around.

Michael Priestley

Michael Priestley
News Team - Editor

Mainly production and market stories on ruminants sector. Works closely with sustainability consultants at FAI Farms.

Top image via Shutterstock

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