Meat & Livestock News

Aus Lamb Production Forecast Continues its Record-Breaking Trend


  • Australia’s lamb production is expected to hit a new record of 621,000 tonnes in 2024, marking the fourth consecutive year of growth.
  • Despite a slight predicted decline in the sheep flock, mutton production is set to reach its highest since 2006.

Australia is on track for another record-breaking year in lamb production, with projections indicating a total of 621,000 tonnes for 2024, up 9% from the previous year. This marks an unprecedented fourth year of consecutive growth, pushing production 21.3% above the ten-year average.

The forecast for 2025 suggests a slight dip to 587,000 tonnes, followed by a rebound in 2026 with an estimated 606,000 tonnes, attributed to improved carcass weights.

In contrast, the Australian sheep flock is expected to decrease by 2.9% to 76.5 million, though this reduction will not significantly impact meat production. Mutton output is anticipated to peak at 254,000 tonnes this year, the highest since 2006, before experiencing a decline over the following two years.

The continuous surge in Australian sheepmeat production has exerted pressure on international prices, notably affecting New Zealand’s key markets such as China. Nevertheless, Australia’s position as the world’s leading sheep meat exporter remains strong, with expectations of sustained demand, especially from the United States and emerging economies.

However, the overall demand for beef may face challenges due to limited or negative wage growth in key global markets, potentially affecting consumer spending and beef consumption patterns.

Rabobank highlights that beef, being a premium-priced protein, could suffer in sales under economic strain. In markets with restricted beef production growth, such as the United States, consumers may still support high prices despite reduced consumption.

Conversely, in regions like Australia where supply is increasing, lower prices might be necessary to boost consumption.

China’s beef demand is predicted to remain slow in the first half of the year, while the United States is adjusting its exports to cater to softer markets. Notably, Brazil and Australia increased their beef exports to the United States significantly in January 2024. The New Zealand beef sector has seen a 3.9% decrease in bull beef kill, with beef exports rising by 7% in volume but dropping 9% in value in 2023.