Northern summer pause for live sheep exports

Sheep-exportWA sheep producers are reminded to continue reviewing their flock marketing and management strategies in light of the Federal Government’s confirmation of a northern summer pause for live exports to the Middle East.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has harnessed a range of information on its website to assist sheep producers consider alternative markets during the upcoming three-month pause.

Senior development officer Mandy Curnow encouraged producers to plan now and make early decisions about what to do with ‘shippers’ that would have been destined for this market.

“We remind producers that this market will not be available from June through to August, inclusive,” Ms Curnow said.

“The sooner producers make decisions about what alternative markets to target, the better they will be able to manage their flock to optimise profitability.”

The department’s Live Export Sheep webpage lists a number of options, considerations and feed requirements to assist producers and consultants to make informed decisions.

“It may still be possible for producers to prepare and sell suitable animals prior to the end of May,” Ms Curnow said.

“If this is an option, producers need to talk to their agent about upcoming contracts as soon as possible.”

Alternatively, producers can choose to retain or sell stock, depending on the impact on stocking rates and feed availability, particularly for lambing ewes and growing weaners, as well as the impact on cash flow.

Ms Curnow said if producers choose to retain wethers until the live export market re-opens in September, they will need to have enough feed to maintain their condition.

“If producers wish to target this market, sheep need to be maintained at condition score 2 or higher,” she said.

“Producers who want to target the wool market will need to maintain adult wethers at condition score 2 or higher to ensure good animal health and wool production.”

Turning off animals to alternative markets during the three month pause may be an option.

“Producers can still sell all or some of their hogget wethers to local processors as mutton, if needed,” Ms Curnow said.

“Lighter lambs could be sold to the air freight market, while heavier Merino lambs could be offloaded, while prices are good and processors are in short supply.

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