Sheep industry leaders will meet next month to take stock of the Western Australian flock size and steer the sector through the next decade.
The Sheep Industry Leaders Forum, run by the Sheep Industry Leadership Council and the Department of Agriculture and Food, is part of ongoing work to lift the state’s depleted sheep numbers.
Sheep Industry Leadership Council (SILC) chair Rob Egerton-Warburton said producers, processors and exporters had responded strongly to new programs, such as More Sheep, aimed at driving profitable growth of the flock.
“This forum is part of our work bringing together information, vision and strategies to build a plan for the sheep flock to 2025 and beyond,” Mr Egerton-Warburton said.
Department senior research officer Kimbal Curtis, who will provide the forum with a stocktake of the WA flock size and movements, said improved lambing rates in 2012 contributed to a small increase in numbers.
“Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows producers recorded an average marking rate of 85 per cent, which is higher than the State’s 10-year average of 81 per cent,” Mr Curtis said.
“These figures are consistent with reports of good lambing conditions in 2012.”
Mr Curtis said lamb and sheep slaughter rates for 2012-13 had been higher than the previous year, while live export turnoff had fallen.
“Overall, total turnoff in 2012-13 is expected to rise to 5 million head from 4.4 million in 2011-12,” he said.
“The projected closing flock size for the 2012-13 financial year is 14.7 million, a modest increase of two per cent on the previous year.”
The keynote speaker for the forum is Crawford Taylor, State manager of Rabobank. Other speakers include Professor David Pethick, Sheep CRC Meat Quality Program leader, WAMMCO marketing manager Damien Giumelli and LastSay principal Donna Cole.
Topics will include opportunities and new innovations for the sheep industry, growing and emerging markets for sheep meat, winning the minds and hearts of the community and investing in skills and capacity across the industry.
Media contact: Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937