December 7, 2007
December 7, 2007 - The drought in Australia is expected to cut the national sheep flock to only 85 million head by June 2008, the smallest since 1924 and half the level of 1990.
The Australian Commodities December quarter report released this week by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) reveals a far bigger decline in the national flock than was previously expected. It follows a lean time for the wool industry since the demise of the Reserve Price Scheme for wool in 1990 and ongoing drought in wide areas of pastoral Australia.
ABARE agricultural commodities analysis manager John Hogan said the bureau hadn't expected the flock to drop so far.
"I'd expect some turn-around when we get a return to good seasons because wool and lamb prices are good," Hogan said.
The commodities report forecasts that wool production would fall a further 8.4 percent this financial year to 437,000 tons-less than half the total in 1990.
The bureau also forecast a slight drop in the national cattle herd to 27.6 million, down from 28.8 million in 2005-2006.
Farm export earnings are forecast to decline by more than 3 percent to $26.8 billion in 2007-2008 because of poor seasonal conditions in many parts of Australia. Reprinted from Advertiser Adelaide, Australia