Sheep meat exports from Western Australia are on track to reach record levels in 2016, according to the latest sheep industry snapshot from the Department of Agriculture and Food.
The department’s biannual Sheep Notes publication reported a four per cent increase in the combined value of lamb and mutton exports compared with last year.
Department research officer Kate Pritchett said the value of WA sheepmeat exports from January to October 2016 rose to $273 million.
“The projected end of year value for 2016 sheepmeat exports of $A328.8 million is the highest on record,” Ms Pritchett said.
The UAE was the biggest market, accounting for 12 per cent of the market, followed closely by China at 11 per cent, Jordan at 10 per cent, Saudi Arabia and the USA both at 9 per cent.
Wool exports rose 10 per cent compared to the previous year, to $429 million, based on January to October figures.
Ms Pritchett said the movement of sheep interstate for slaughter or restocking was a notable feature of 2016.
“As of mid-November, 189,000 sheep and lambs had been trucked from Western Australia, more than double 2015 levels,” she said.
The WA sheep flock contracted to 14 million head as of mid-2015. Based on current turn-off levels, an estimated average marking percentage of 103 per cent would be required to maintain the flock size.
Department sheep industry development director Bruce Mullan said the department was working with industry to build capacity and deliver the volume and quality of sheep and meat required by current and new potential markets.
“The department’s Sheep Industry Business Innovation project (SIBI) has initiatives, such as the lamb survival project and Life Time Ewe Management, dedicated to lifting sheep numbers and helping producers increase reproduction rate to ensure the sustainability of Western Australia’s sheep flock,” Dr Mullan said.
“The lamb survival initiative provides support for producers to lift their sheep enterprises’ lamb turn off through access to an experienced accredited consultant to help build producers' confidence and skills to lift marking rates.
“SIBI is working with industry to identify and address barriers to adoption to support greater confidence to invest in and increase productivity in sheep enterprises.”
The latest Sheep Notes publication is available from the department website
Media contacts: Lisa Bertram/Megan Broad, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937