Lamb on the money in the year ahead

29 Jun, 2009 09:56 AM
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AUSTRALIAN lamb producers can expect more cash in their back pocket over the next 12 months, with slaughter lamb producers’ financial performance likely to rise by an average $8300 a farm on 2007-08.

The predictions come as the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics upgraded its projections on slaughter lamb production in its latest quarterly Australian lamb report released last week.

ABARE’s executive director Philip Glyde, said seasonal conditions remained hot and dry in most of the major prime lamb producing regions of Australia, resulting in many producers increasing their turn-off of sheep and lambs.

“In recent years, the slaughter lamb industry has undergone a period of significant new investments in capital, particularly land,” Mr Glyde said.

“This, combined with high equity levels, will enable most producers to finance their recovery and expansion.

ABARE has tipped sheep numbers on lamb producing farms will increase, on average, by almost 3 per cent this season.

A rise in proportion of finished lambs sold is expected to offset sales of non-prime lambs for slaughter, resulting in the total sales of prime lambs to increase from the average 778 head per farm set in 2007-08.

Increased rain is tipped to push out lamb producer’s farm cash income by 21 per cent on 2007-08 levels, to an average rate of $11,700 a farm.

However, Mr Glyde said producers indicated they intended to reduce turn-off to rebuild sheep numbers in 2008-09.

“This will result in the improvement in farm cash incomes being weaker than would otherwise be expected.”

A greater focus on the production of first cross and specialty meat breeds of sheep is credited for the four per cent lift in average slaughter weight of 20.3 kilograms in 2007-08.

This week the Bureau of Meteorology reported warmer sea temperatures in the Indian and Pacific Ocean indicated a shift in the odds towards a drier than average season from July to September across large parts of southeastern Australia, and wetter conditions in northern NSW.

Producers in south eastern region are given between 40-50per cent chances of getting above average rainfall, but the rate drops to 35-40pc chance in central and southeast South Australia and the far southwest of Victoria.

But pessimistic weather predictions are marginally compensated by increased focus on the production of first cross and specialty meat breeds of sheep which has helped the average slaughter weight of lambs lift to 20.3 kilograms, up 4 pc than a decade earlier.

Australian lamb and lamb meat exports increased by 77 per cent over the past ten years to 2007-08.

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READER COMMENTS

Bazza
29/06/2009 5:16:18 PM

Who is this clown? Lamb numbers are the lowest for many years and producers are fed up with claims without base. Lamb producers who have retained their breeding numbers will increase their gross incomes but with massive cost increases for fertilisers and other essentials they will be lucky to achieve any increase in nett income. Just look at the age of lamb producers to see where the industry is heading, thanks largely to poor returns and even poorer advice and support from the likes of MLA and ABARE.

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