Market Morsel: Flock up, slaughter down.

Livestock | 1st February 2021 | By Matt Dalgleish

Market Morsel

Compared to the September 2020 estimates Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have increased the pace at which they see the sheep flock recovering, according to their February 2021 outlook.

The 2020 sheep flock is expected to come in at 64 million head, a 0.3% increase on their view from the September 2020 report. Projecting further out MLA anticipate the flock rebuild to occur more quickly with  flock estimates for 2021, 2022 and 2023 all revised higher in their February 2021 report.

Indeed, by 2023 MLA now expect the national flock to hit 74.7 million head. This is a 16.7% increase on the 2020 flock size and is 4.0% higher than their September 2020 estimate of the 2023 flock.

Annual lamb slaughter estimates for the next few years have been pared back from their September 2020 forecasts. While the MLA report shows lamb slaughter is still expected to grow by an annual average of 4.3% over the 2020 to 2023 period the slaughter volumes have been revised down from previous estimates.

This is particularly evident in the 2021 lamb slaughter forecasts , which are slated to come in at 20.8 million head,  4.6% under the 21.8 million head from their September 2020 outlook.

Read the full MLA February 2021 report here.


  • Sheep
  • Lamb
  • Supply and Demand