By Garra - 29/07/2022 in Lamb/Mutton

Demand for Australian sheep meat grows as country forecasts record production

Australian lamb production is estimated to reach record in 2022, as global demand for the country’s sheep meat grows, according to the latest Meat & Livestock Australia projections.

According to the MLA, a strong start to Western Australia’s season, coupled with above average rainfall patterns for most sheep regions of New South Wales and Victoria, will drive a national flock to rise 7.2% (or 5.1 million) in 2022, to 76 million head.

On the back of this growth, lamb production is forecast to reach record levels at 549,000 tons in 2022, with higher carcass weights driving the increase.

From the demand point of view, exports have grown in the first five months of the year. From January to May, Australia exported 110,775 tons of lamb, 5% more year-on-year and 57,655 tons of mutton, up 7% on the same comparison basis.

MLA’s senior market information analyst Ripley Atkinson said strong export growth in emerging markets such as Malaysia, Japan and South Korea demonstrate the diverse range of countries Australian lamb and mutton can go.

“On top of booming markets in Asia, the United States has quickly emerged as Australia’s number one destination for lamb exports,” he said.

The United States imported 35,053 tons of sheep meat from the country up to May, 3% higher than at the same point in 2021. 

“With sheep meat production in plentiful volumes and international demand for Australian product remaining robust across key established and emerging markets, the outlook for the Australian sheep meat industry is bright,” according to Atkinson.

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