Lamb pro­duc­ers con­tinue to en­joy high prices

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - LIVESTOCK -

THE Aus­tralian sheep in­dus­try con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength off the back of in­creased prices, pro­duc­tion and ex­ports - ac­cord­ing to Ru­ral Bank’s 2017 Aus­tralian Sheep An­nual Re­view.

Strong de­mand and tight sup­ply in the first half of 2017 has caused the Na­tional Trade Lamb In­di­ca­tor (NTLI) to con­tinue to av­er­age higher for the fourth year in a row, av­er­ag­ing 639c/kg cwt for the first half of 2017 - 14 per cent higher than the same pe­riod last year.

Na­tional mut­ton prices are also av­er­ag­ing 38 per cent higher than 2016, as pro­duc­ers held onto their breed­ing stock and cap­i­talised on strong wool prices.

The new Ru­ral Bank re­port pro­vides pro­duc­ers and in­dus­try with a con­cise anal­y­sis on sheep flock, lamb and mut­ton pro­duc­tion, sea­sonal con­di­tions, prices and de­mand in Aus­tralia and the global mar­ket.

Gen­eral man­ager agribusi­ness for Ru­ral Bank, An­drew Smith, said the Aus­tralian sheep in­dus­try was in good health.

“It’s quite re­mark­able to have prices and pro­duc­tion in­creas­ing for so long, show­ing a con­sis­tent, strong growth in de­mand,” Mr Smith said.

” Given do­mes­tic lamb con­sump­tion has re­mained rel­a­tively steady since the mid-1990s, it’s clear ex­port mar­kets have un­der­pinned the sec­tor’s growth.

“The quan­tity of lamb ex­ported has in­creased for six con­sec­u­tive years and was 62 per cent higher in 2016 than 2010.

“At the same time, the price paid for Aus­tralian lamb has also risen, in­creas­ing the value of Aus­tralian sheep ex­ports.”

Mr Smith said de­clin­ing pro­duc­tion in New Zealand – the largest ex­porter of lamb to China - had cre­ated more op­por­tu­ni­ties for Aus­tralian lamb in the Chinese mar­ket, re­sult­ing in ex­port vol­umes in­creas­ing 39 per cent com­pared to 2016.

“Com­bined with con­tin­ued growth in Aus­tralian lamb’s most valu­able ex­port mar­ket, the USA, long term de­mand and prices look set to con­tinue their up­ward tra­jec­tory,” he said.

“The only neg­a­tive to the buoy­ant con­di­tions is the fore­cast for a drier and warmer win­ter and early spring.”

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