Meat & Livestock News

2023’s NLRS Slaughter Data: A Detailed Look

Veterinarian observing pigs at pig farm and checking their health and growth.

Last year, the National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) kept giving us weekly updates on slaughter numbers from all around the country. It’s been a year where the weather, how confident farmers felt, and the ups and downs of the market all played a part. And, we’ve not seen so many sheep and cows being processed in over ten years!

Cattle Numbers Up

So, what’s the story with cattle? Well, the NLRS tells us that in 2023, about 5.75 million cattle were slaughtered. That’s 24% more than in 2022 and 14% more than the average of the last five years. It’s the most we’ve seen in three years. Queensland was super busy, handling 52% of these, with New South Wales and Victoria following.

Sheep and Lambs

Now, onto sheep and lambs. The processors had a busy year with prices going all over the place. They managed to make the most of it, though. Lamb slaughter numbers were the highest since 2019. We’re talking over 20 million lambs, up 8% from 2022. Victoria did nearly half of this work. As for sheep, the numbers went up by a whopping 44% from last year to about 7.68 million. New South Wales was leading the charge here.

Different States, Different Stories

Each state had its pattern when it came to processing. Some were busier in June, others in September. It’s interesting to see how different places peak at different times.

So, there you have it. 2023 was quite the year for livestock processing in Australia. The NLRS data really shows how things can change year on year, depending on all sorts of things like the weather and the market.