THE WA Meat Marketing Cooperative (WAMMCO) will pay qualifying producer members a first ever rebate of 5pc of the gross value of non-contract lambs delivered to its Katanning processing plant in 2004-05.
WAMMCO chairman Dawson Bradford said the rebate was ahead of a record profit (subject to audit) due to be announced at the cooperative's annual general meeting at York in October.
The rebate was expected to be worth $1 million, covering an estimated 300,000 lambs, and it would be paid on the ratio of 40pc cash, 60pc new shares.
Mr Bradford said the rebate would be on the gross value of lambs sold to WAMMCO under the weekly schedule and would be related to the number of shares held by each eligible member.
"Producers under contract, or those who sell to us on-farm are deemed to have already derived the benefit of transferring risk to the cooperative and will therefore not qualify for the rebate," Mr Bradford said.
"The rebate system is pitched to reward members who deliver the grades of lambs we want the most and the issue of new shares will assist members to qualify for killing space entitlements as well as dividends as WAMMCO continues to grow."
Mr Bradford urged producers to review the status of their individual shareholding, particularly in relation to future rebates, dividends and access to killing space.
"Until now many producers have been able to secure access to processing space at Katanning with a minimum holding of 100 shares," he said.
"New rules will begin to apply from the 2005-06 season and I would urge producers to review their shareholding with our livestock representatives, or with the cooperative secretary, Bruce Ede, to secure their future access entitlements to processing space at Katanning."
WAMMCO chief executive Des Griffiths confirmed a solid ongoing outlook for WA's lamb production to a meeting of about 50 producers at Esperance last week.
He said WAMMCO's average lamb price for 2004-05 was expected to be just under $70 per head, down from the 2002-03 peak of $74.33, but still a solid figure considering a 28pc appreciation of the Australian dollar during that period.
While WA's sheep flock was just beginning to grow from the bottom of 2001-02 trough of about 23 million sheep, there was still a major challenge for the industry to meet export and domestic demand for sheepmeats.
"Australian lamb exports by 2015 are forecast to more than double to the US," Mr Griffiths said.
"This would account for 33.3pc of the increase in the total of Australia's exports."
He said other significant movers were expected to be China and India, however, they would be more protein than "high value" markets.
Mr Griffiths said Australia's lamb exports were forecast to increase from 131 million tonnes in 2004 to 207mt by 2009, while a revitalisation of the domestic lamb market was expected to see consumption rise from 210mt to 269mt during the same period.