SHEEP

Lamb yardings tipped to rise

MORE than 50 per cent of Australia’s lamb producers are expected to sell more lambs for the first half of the year compared with 2022.

 MLA expects lamb yardings to lift in the next few months. Picture Mark Saunders.

MLA expects lamb yardings to lift in the next few months. Picture Mark Saunders.

The latest results from the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) February 2023 Sheep Producer Intentions - PULSE survey show 55 per cent of producers expecting to sell more lambs in the first half of 2023 across most states and all farm sizes.

This translates to an increase of 3.27 million lambs to be sold on top of the estimates from the October MLA and AWI survey, or a total of 13.44 million head, in the first half of 2023.

Results from the February survey also indicated that 51 per cent of Australian producers had sold fewer lambs than expected by the end of 2022.

The decline in lamb sales was mostly attributed to weather conditions impacting producers' ability to achieve the targeted lamb performance required for sale.

Lamb condition and weight have been key determinants of market price over the last few months, as buyers have plenty of stock to choose from.

Other reasons were:
• prices not being strong enough (25 per cent)
• less lambs than expected from the 2022 drop (13 per cent)
• harvest activities being prioritised (12 per cent).

Although labour issues have been felt across the supply chain, therefore restricting processor capacity, only six per cent of producers who sold fewer lambs than expected attributed it to processor availability issues.

Lamb yardings to date for 2023 have increased 15 per cent year-on-year as more lambs come to weight and hit the market after the intensive rebuild period.

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