WA livestock slaughter statistics for the 2003-04 year show increases for most species due to more livestock going though export accredited abattoirs, with lambs and cattle leading the way.
WA Meat Industry Authority chief executive officer Mike Donnelly said the 500,000 more lambs processed in 2003-04 year was spread across processors in the South West and Great Sourthern.
He said on average, WA had processed two million lambs through domestic and export abattoirs over the past eight or nine years.
"Two million lambs for the processing industry is a reasonably consistent figure," he said.
"We have bounced back a bit from where we were a couple of years ago.
³The growth in export processing has been to some extent at the expense of domestic processors and to some extent a bounce back in overall processing.²
Mr Donnelly said the rise in cattle slaughtered was mainly through export abattoirs but export processors also supplied the domestic market.
He said 282,000 cattle slaughtered in 2003-04 was the highest figure for 14 years with numbers fluctuating since then, mainly at the expense of domestic abattoirs.
WA's main cattle abattoirs are EG Green and Sons, Nebru Plains and V & V Walsh.
Mr Donnelly said there was no significant rise in sheep being processed. He said figures had been stable for the past three years.
However, he said sheep slaughter had traditionally been higher and the more recent figures reflected a decline in the sheep flock.
³With closure or upgrading of abattoirs to export standards there would be a reduction in domestic processing,² he said.
Mr Donnelly said pig slaughtering showed a slight increase overall and a big increase in numbers slaughtered through export abattoirs.
He said this was due to the opening of the Linley Valley Abattoir and its service kill for other processors.
"I think there has been some growth in the numbers of pigs going to export,² he said. "The pig industry looks like it is going quite well."
Fletchers boss Roger Fletcher said fewer wethers were being run and there were good prices for Merino lambs.
He said the Narrikup plant slaughtered 500,000 lambs and 800,000 grown sheep in 2003-04.
"If we can get enough staff we could get it to two million," he said.
The Narrikup plant was commissioned in June 1998.
WAMMCO general manager Des Griffiths said higher prices for lamb had encouraged producers to keep crossbreds. The easing of demand from live exports would provided more lambs for processing.
"There was an increased availability of Merinos and you would assume some of these have gone to live export," he said.
EG Green & Sons chief executive officer Garry Minton said the plant at Harvey killed 170,000 cattle for the 2003-04 year, which was about 5000 higher than the year before and was not due to any fall in live exports through Fremantle.
"I think you will find live export cattle out of Fremantle has not dropped," he said.
He said 35pc of their product went on to the domestic market and the rest went for export, which did not change much.