The Australian sheep flock remains in a heavy rebuild phase with both the number of ewes and lambs on hand up on 2020 levels.
And 92 per cent of producers nationally intend to either increase or maintain their flocks over the next 12 months.
This is according to the preliminary results from the June Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Sheepmeat and Wool Survey released this week.
As of June 30, 2021, breeding ewes are up by one per cent or 400,000 on 2020 levels totalling 41.6 million head.
On a regional basis, all states experienced growth in ewe numbers except South Australia and Victoria.
There was also a significant jump in lamb numbers on hand, up 35pc to 19.7 million head.
According to the survey, this increase in lamb numbers is expected to flow onto higher lamb sales, which are forecast to hit 7.2 million head over the next four months, a rise of 33pc on 2020 levels.
MLA market information manager Stephen Bignell said the increase in lambs on-hand has been achieved through higher marking rates, but with less ewes joined.
"In June 2021, 1pc more lambs were marked from 6pc less ewes joined," Mr Bignell said.
"This was possible as marking rates increased 6pc to 101pc across all breeds."
He said further reinforcing the strength of the rebuild were the statistics about producer intentions.
"The survey found that 92pc of producers nationally intend to either increase or maintain their flocks over the next 12 months," Mr Bignell said.
"The increase of ewes on-hand is a result of producers retaining more breeding stock to rebuild the herd.
"The lambs on hand increased on the back of favourable seasonal conditions, which helped increase marking rates, especially due to pregnant ewe nutrition."
The survey revealed SA was the only state that had ewe numbers on-hand but rebuild intentions dropped, partly due to drier conditions in the state.
The survey had over 1700 respondents from around the country.
Full results will be released next week along with a breakdown on the growth in different breeds.
More to come
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