Change to def­i­ni­tion of ‘lamb’ a win-win for all

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK - Bob Gar­nant

Re­solve has fi­nally been put in favour of Aus­tralian sheep pro­duc­ers in the long cam­paign to change the def­i­ni­tion of lamb.

Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud re­cently an­nounced Aus­tralia would match New Zea­land’s def­i­ni­tion of lamb, which al­lows for a con­tin­ued lamb clas­si­fi­ca­tion af­ter two per­ma­nent in­cisor teeth be­came avail­able.

His aim, to be fi­nalised early next year, has been to re­move the un­fair ad­van­tage that NZ pro­duc­ers had in the mar­ket.

Mr Lit­tleproud said dur­ing decades of de­bate, Aus­tralian lamb had grown into the less lu­cra­tive “hogget” or mut­ton clas­si­fi­ca­tion as soon as in­cisor teeth were vis­i­ble.

“Aus­tralian lamb will con­tinue to be called lamb when the an­i­mal has two per­ma­nent in­cisor teeth, so long as those teeth are new and have not be­gun to wear,” he said.

“Our ex­port def­i­ni­tion will now match New Zea­land’s def­i­ni­tion and our own new AUS-MEAT def­i­ni­tion.”

Mr Lit­tleproud said Aus­tralian grow­ers would be able to sell more lambs to­wards the end of the grow­ing sea­son and ex­pand their lamb ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It will be easy for grow­ers to see when a lamb be­comes a sheep — when there is vis­i­ble wear on the in­cisors.

“The lamb def­i­ni­tion change will re­quire an amend­ment to the Ex­port Con­trol Or­ders 2005.”

WA Meat Mar­ket­ing Co-op­er­a­tive chief ex­ec­u­tive Coll MacRury called the new rul­ing a win-win for pro­duc­ers and pro­ces­sors.

“Pro­duc­ers can ex­pect to in­crease their lamb rev­enue as much as $30 to $50/head and pro­ces­sors will have more lamb to process dur­ing the off-peak sea­son,” he said.

Ko­jonup lamb feed-lot­ter Ge­off Bil­ney wel­comed the change, say­ing it would im­prove his to­tal “lamb” out­put by up to 5 per cent.

Re­search by Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia found no dis­cernible dif­fer­ence in eat­ing qual­ity be­tween lambs im­me­di­ately prior to in­cisor teeth and im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards.

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