Trade Export demand to support sheepmeat prices as dry bites
Lamb slaughter is forecast to decline 7% in 2019 to 21.2 mill. head, while sheep slaughter is predicted to be down 16%, to 8 mill. head, underpinned by substantial drops in marking rates and the culling of large numbers of ewes and ewe lambs.
The national flock is estimated to have declined by over 4 mill. head, or 6.1%, to mid-2018 and is forecast to experience a further decline of 3.7% by mid-2019 to 65.3 mill. head, as many producers are forced to continue destocking as they wait for a turnaround in the weather.
The significantly reduced breeding flock and widespread rainfall decencies, suggest fewer joinings than usual and a continuation of below-average lambing rates experienced in 2018.