Lamb a winner in 2010

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 23rd February 2010

Lamb production and prices are on track to post a record high in 2010, up 2% on 2009 levels, despite extremely low flock numbers, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s 2010 Sheep Projections.

“The key factor underpinning this production growth is improved pasture conditions in southern Australia, combined with the positive price signals for lamb that continue to drive the shift in flock composition towards prime lamb production,” said MLA sheepmeat analyst Kara Tighe.

“The global financial and economic crises and runaway Australian dollar failed to contain the momentum of Australian lamb in 2009, with record high prices and export volumes and strong domestic demand,” said Mrs Tighe. “Australia’s lamb consumption is set to rise again in 2010, increasing just over 1% to reach 241,000 tonnes, despite the recent sharp rise in retail prices.”

Australian exporters may endure a more difficult year, due to the strong Australian dollar and high lamb prices, but lower global lamb supplies and strong export demand in the Middle East should cushion the impact, with exports forecast to rise 2%.

Australian sheep flocks are expected to reach their lowest level since 1905 this year, with an expected fall of 2%, down to under 70 million head.