September 2, 2005
September 2, 1005 -- Drought will hobble Australia's lamb production in the short-term as producers continue to rebuild their flocks, according to new reports released by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) today.
The report indicates that the number of new season lambs is expected to fall 4 percent to 17.2 million for 2006, with many prime lamb regions entering their fifth year of drought.
Lamb prices are expected to remain high over the next year, but MLA is tipping modest price falls over the medium-term as supply responds to the current high returns.
Predictions indicate that once the drought recedes, production is expected to rise by 21 percent, hitting 110 million, in the next five years to 2009. Sheep prices are also likely to stay above historical averages over that time frame.
Over the next five years, lamb exports are expected to rise as well, with a 32-percent increase to China, 31-percent increase to Japan, 21-percent increase to the Middle East and a 17-percent increase to the United States.