Victoria is one of the world's largest suppliers of lamb and mutton, with an export value of $692 million in 2012-13. Sheep meat exports increased 12 per cent last financial year on the back of strong growth in the United States and the rapidly expanding Chinese market, which now accounts of 19 per cent of Australian red meat exports. This is up from 4 per cent the previous year. At the same time as the market for sheep meat has increased, producers are facing significant challenges to productivity and profitability. These include falling sheep breeding capacity, increasing production costs; and intensified demands from consumers and supply chain partners for traceable, healthy products with demonstrated ethical production practices.
To make the most of this expanding market for lamb and mutton, sheep meat producers must act now to address these challenges or risk the industry's long-term competitiveness and profitability.
How we work
Our Agriculture Research division is helping farmers lift the productivity of their sheep breeding operations through the development of new management practices. Researchers focus on four key areas: flexible feedbase systems and innovative lamb production systems; and meeting the market. Ultimately, they will deliver flexible and productive lamb systems that enable industry to improve profitability and international competitiveness while meeting consumer and animal welfare requirements; and managing the resource base for future productivity.
Under the National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension Framework, Agriculture Victoria has a lead role for lamb. As part of this, the department has established the Red Meat Innovation Centre at Hamilton and is leading the development of the South East Australian Red Meat Innovation Collaboration.
Following links provide research projects summaries in red meat research.