There will be 13.1 million lamb sales over the summer months, according to the most recent release of the MLA/AWI Sheepmeat and Wool Survey.
The survey results, prepared by Kynetec, relate to the November 2021 to February 2022 period and equate to 2.9 million more than the corresponding period in 2020-21.
Merinos are expected to make up 24 per cent of national lamb sales, with the proportion higher in WA and SA .
Meanwhile pure meat and first cross breeds are expected to account for 32pc and 27pc of lamb sales respectively, at their highest in NSW and Victoria.
Victoria and NSW are expected to account for 33pc each of total lamb sales, comprising 4.3 million head across the two states, with WA and SA then making up 16pc and 15pc of sales respectively.
In 2021, the number of lambs marked in the four months leading up to October 31 was 21.9 million head, the same as in 2020 but it was achieved by joining 500,000 less ewes, highlighting improvement in marking rates.
The year saw 12.1 million head of Merino lambs marked, a reduction of 225,000 head or two per cent on last year.
The number of pure meat and first-cross lambs marked increased 400,000 head and 300,000 to 4.1 million head and 3.1 million head, respectively.
The national marking rate for Merinos was 93 pc while the national non-Merino marking rate was 114pc.
An industry shift towards meat sheep is clear from the data, with 72 per cent of all breeding ewes Merinos.
It marks the second consecutive quarter the percentage of Merino breeding ewes has been below 75pc.
Within the Merino flock, 72pc of ewes are slated for purebred Merino lamb production and 28pc for other lamb production.
As of October 31, there were 29.4 million lambs on hand with Merinos making up 51pc of the total lamb flock, at 15.1 million head, followed by pure meat lambs at 21pc and first cross lambs at 17pc.
Western Australia remains the strongest Merino producing state on a proportionate basis with 89pc of all breeding ewes Merinos.
Looking at producer intentions, the survey indicates that in the next 12 months 95pc of growers intend to increase or maintain their flock numbers.
Of the 51pc of producers who responded that they plan to increase their numbers, 55pc said they planned to retain more replacement ewes, 39pc will retain more older ewes and 30 pc will buy more additional ewes than usual.
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.