The Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Sheep Industry projections have been released with no changes noted to the flock numbers for 2022 and 2023 when compared to their previous outlook issued back in July 2022. However, the updated projections do provide a glimpse at what MLA are expecting up until the middle of the decade.
The flock is expected to reach a peak of 79.5 million head in 2024, the largest flock seen since 2007, and then post a decline of 1.2% into 2025 to ease back toward 78.5 million head.
Annual lamb slaughter in 2023 gained marginally from the June 2022 projection, up from 22.59 million head to 22.63 million head. In 2024 lamb slaughter is forecast to climb to 23.2 million head, which will be the largest annual lamb slaughter has been on record and around 5% higher than the ten-year average annual lamb slaughter volumes. In 2025 lamb slaughter is anticipated to ease 1.0% back to 23.0 million head.
Sheep slaughter is unchanged for 2022 & 2023, compared to the July 2022 forecast levels. MLA project steadily increasing sheep slaughter for 2024 and 2025 of 8.5 million head and 9.5 million head, respectively. Sheep slaughter of 9.5 million head in 2025 will be the highest annual sheep slaughter has been since the 2019 drought that severely impacted the NSW sheep flock.