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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released the official livestock and production figures for the second quarter of 2022. The data also provided insights on slaughter, production, value and carcase weight for sheep and cattle for the 2022 financial year.

Gross value of livestock

In sheep, the value of lambs and sheep slaughtered in FY22 was $5,13b. This figure is 14.5% above the value of sheep and lambs slaughtered in FY21.

Q2 FY22 (October to December 2021) was the quarter recording the highest value of sheep and slaughtered ever. The average price for a finished lamb/sheep in FY22 was $189.39, up 10.5% on 2021.


Lamb production

In Q2 of 2022, lamb production was 140,165 tonnes, the third highest quarterly volume on record, behind Q2 2018 and Q4 2016. The quarterly total of 140,165 tonnes was a 12.5% increase on Q1 2022 levels and 1.8% higher than the same quarter in 2021.

Lamb slaughter

Lamb slaughter for Q2 was recorded at 5.44m, an increase of 9.5% on the previous quarter and 1.1% higher than the June 2021 quarter. For the full financial year, lamb slaughter nationally stood at 20.8m lambs.

“The fact that lamb slaughter for Q2 2022 was not within in the historical top 20 lamb slaughter volumes, but was the third highest level of production, shows the benefits of increasing carcase weights,” according to Mr Bignell.

Lamb carcase weight

“The implementation of new genetics, well managed on-farm production and above average rainfall patterns have ensured national lamb carcase weights achieved record highs in Q2 2022.

At 25.8kg/head, this is a 0.6% increase year-on-year levels, demonstrating that genetic improvement and management is driving increased efficiencies and production for the national lamb flock,” Mr Bignell said.

New South Wales lambs are weighing 26.8kg/head on average, leading the trend for heavier lambs nationally, they are followed by South Australian lambs at 26.7kg/head.



Unlike lambs and cattle, sheep slaughter fell in Q2 2022, reducing by 13.2% or 209,600 head. According to Mr Bignell however, a drop in slaughter in the June quarter is common as producers are retaining ewes for lambing during this period.

“Encouragingly, when compared to the corresponding June period in 2021, mutton slaughter is up 27% or close to 300,000 head. This would suggest the flock rebuild is maturing and inline with MLA’s most recent June sheep projections,” Mr Bignell said.


Production of mutton was recorded at 35,091 tonnes, a 11.3% reduction on the previous quarter but 25% higher than 2021 levels. As mutton production fell by less than the fall in slaughter, carcase weights climbed.

Carcase weights

National sheep carcase weights for Q2 2022 were recorded at 25.5kg/head, a 500g increase on Q1 2022 levels but well below the 2.2kg/head below the highs recorded in December 2021.

“Interestingly, the average carcase weights for sheep are below that of lambs on a national level. Sheep in New South Wales are the heaviest weighting 27.3kg, while sheep in Tasmania are the lightest weighing 19.5kg/head,” Mr Bignell said.