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Major Commodities - Sheep Meat


Long a staple on Australian dinner plates, sheepmeat consumption continues its growth on both domestic and international markets, with consumers increasingly demanding a premium product.

Domestic and international demand for Australian sheepmeat is split almost 50/50 - with the main export markets being the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

With a strong focus on animal health and wellbeing to produce the highest quality product, the Australian sheepmeat sector continues to build upon its value as a safe, reliable and high-quality supplier of lamb and mutton.

Australian Sheepmeat: fast facts

  • As at June 2010, there were 10,705 specialised sheep farms in Australia.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities 2009-2010, Catalogue No.7121.0

  • As at 30 June 2010, Australia had an estimated national flock of 68,085,000 sheep and lambs.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Commodities 2009-2010, Catalogue No.7121.0

  • In 2010, Australians, on average, ate 11.2 kg of mutton and lamb per person.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2010: Australian Sheepmeat Industry.

  • The consumption of sheepmeats accounts for 4.6 percent of world meat consumption.
  • Barnard, P. Meat: Prospects for Products and Markets, Meat and Livestock Australia 2006.

  • Australian sheepmeat production in 2010 accounted for approximately 8 percent of world production.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2010: Australian Sheepmeat Industry.

  • In 2010, Australia produced 574,310 tonnes (carcase weight) of sheep meat, made up from 412,536 tonnes of lamb and 161,774 tonnes of mutton.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2010: Australia’s Sheepmeat Industry.

  • In 2011, approximately 50 percent of the sheep meat Australia produced was exported, with the remaining used for domestic consumption.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics 2011.

  • Domestic expenditure on lamb and mutton in 2010 totalled around $2.3 billion.
  • Meat & Livestock Australia, Fast Facts 2010: Australian Sheepmeat Industry.

  • Main markets for lamb and mutton are the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, while the main markets for Australian live sheep exports are Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.
  • ABARES, Australian Commodity Statistics 2011.

For more, view NFF Farm Facts 2012.

Further information

< Major Commodities