THE latest Meat and Livestock Australia lamb survey indicates ewe numbers mated to produce Merino lambs is set to rise 16pc and WA is leading the charge in flock expansion.
Record prime lamb prices and improved seasonal conditions did not yield the expected boost in prime lamb numbers.
Merino ewe numbers mated to produce prime lambs are forecast to rise only 5pc to autumn 2005.
It could indicate the prime lamb industry has tightened the reins until Merino breeding ewe flocks have recovered.
Keeping in line with WA livestock agent predictions, Merino lamb prices to autumn 2005 are expected to rise 36pc.
National ewe numbers mated for Merino production are estimated to be 29.1 million and ewes mated for prime lamb production at 17.4m.
Estimated lamb markings in WA are up 24pc, with 23pc more lambs on-farm this season.