Lamb producers continue to enjoy high prices
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.”