Australian lamb exports charged into uncharted territory during October, with exports exceeding 18,000 tons hundred weight (swt) for the first time on record. Total exports for the month reached 18,574 tons swt, 36-percent (almost 5,000 tons) higher year-on-year and almost 800-tons higher than the previous record set in October 2007, according to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Driving the record monthly shipments has been the sustained higher supply of lambs throughout spring, with importers taking advantage of the lower priced product - reflected by the lower saleyard prices.
While the current statistics do not allow for a breakdown of exports by cut, shipments to the Middle East accounted for a significant proportion, reaching 5,320 tons swt, up 79 percent from last year. In addition, mutton exports to the Middle East reached 4,315 tons swt, bringing the total for sheepmeat exports to the region to 9,634 tons swt - also a new monthly record.
Lamb volumes also increased to the United States, jumping 25 percent year-on-year, to 3,522 tons swt. Shipments to Asia (excluding Japan, Korea and Taiwan) reached 3,990 tons swt, with most of this likely to have been sold to China. The lower asking price for lamb also appears to have had an impact on volumes to the European Union, which reached their highest level in three years, at 1,665 tons swt.
Reprinted in part from Meat Livestock Australia