A new definition for lamb gazetted today (June 14) will benefit Western Australian sheep producers selling lamb products overseas.
The changes are part of a national approach bringing the Australian lamb definition into line with New Zealand’s, allowing our producers to compete on a more level playing field.
From July 1, 2019, WA lamb will be classified as young sheep which are under 12 months of age or do not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear.
Under the previous classification, as soon as an adult tooth emerged the product was classified as hogget or mutton resulting in an immediate price discount to producers.
The definition aligns with new Australian export legislation and follows extensive consultation with producers by national peak industry body, Sheep Producers Australia.
This announcement will be welcomed by Western Australian sheep producers with 93 per cent of those surveyed responding that the former definition was negatively impacting their business.
Research has shown that there will be no difference of the eating quality of lamb as a result of this change of definition.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“These regulatory changes will support WA lamb exports, which reached a record value of $307 million in 2018.
“This change will give WA sheepmeat producers a longer time to market their product as lamb.
“It will allow our farmers to fairly compete with New Zealand producers in international markets.”