A SMALL price rise in winter is the best lamb producers can hope for.
Meat and Livestock Australia has just released its sheep industry projections for the year and the news is not good.
MLA says average annual lamb prices will be down on last year’s rate of about 400c/kg.
But it predicts the rate will rise from the lows late last year, where prices were languishing at 310-320c/kg.
MLA releases its annual projections each January.
It puts the current subdued lamb market down to the hot summer, as well as competition from New Zealand lamb in some of Australia’s major markets.
There is a glimmer of hope for some price rises though.
“There is potential for a small price rise mid-year, before another decline with an expected spring flush,” the projections said.
The flock is expected to continue to grow to 76.2 million by the middle of the year (up 1.6 per cent).
By 2017, the national flock is expected to be close to 78 million.
In other projections:
- lamb slaughter will rise 3.2 per cent to 20.7 million, the highest since 2007
- mutton prices are expected to remain at their current levels
- butchers increased their share of the retail spend on lamb in 2012