More ewes and lambs in flock rebuild

Australia flock rebuild revealed in latest survey.
Camera IconAustralia flock rebuild revealed in latest survey.

Australian lamb numbers have increased to 19.7 million, up 35 per cent as compared to last year as revealed in the latest national survey.

Breeding ewes numbers have increased to 41.6 million head, up 400,00 head, or 1 per cent, year-on-year from June, demonstrating the strength of the national flock rebuild.

These were the results revealed in the June Meat and Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation Sheepmeat and Wool Survey, released last Friday.

WA had 7.4 million breeding ewes from October 2020 to June this year, including 4.8 million Merino ewes for pure-bred lamb production.

The survey revealed WA had 2.3 million total lambs on hand, including 1.4 million Merino lambs and expected lamb sales in the next four months was 832,359 from 885,636 lambs marked from March 1 to June 30.

The survey had more than 1700 respondents from around the country.

The survey results reinforced that the Australian sheep flock is in a rebuild phase, with both the number of ewes and lambs on hand, up on 2020 levels.

On a regional basis, all states experienced growth in ewe numbers except South Australia and Victoria.

The national increase in lamb numbers is expected to flow onto higher lamb sales, which are forecast to hit 7.2 million head over the next four months, a rise of 33 per cent on 2020 levels.

Impressively, the increase in lambs on hand has been achieved through higher marking rates, but with less ewes joined — in June this year, 1 per cent more lambs were marked from 6 per cent less ewes joined.

This was possible as marking rates increased 6 per cent to 101 per cent across all breeds.

Further reinforcing the strength of the rebuild are the statistics about producer intentions.

The survey found that 92 per cent of producers nationally were going to either increase or maintain their flocks over the next 12 months.

These numbers demonstrate that the national flock rebuild is underway and expected to continue into next year.

The increase of ewes on hand is a result of producers retaining more breeding stock to rebuild the herd.

The lambs on hand increased on the back of favourable seasonal conditions, which helped increase marking rates, especially due to pregnant ewe nutrition.

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