Australia to move in line with New Zealand on lamb definition as of July 1

The Weekly Times

March 26, 2019



The current definition of Australian lamb, 'A female, castrate or entire male that has 0 permanent incisor teeth’ is set to be changed as of July 1st, bringing us in line with New Zealand. New definition definition, 'young sheep under 12 months of age or which do not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear,' is anticipated to even the playing field for Australian lamb exports in the export marketplace.


The new definition will also allow producers more wiggle room to finish lambs, without fear of missing specs. This will have a positive impact throughout the supply chain, particularly for processors who will be able to count on greater supply.

New definition: 'young sheep under 12 months of age or which do not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear.'

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said it brings Australia into line with the definition of lamb in New Zealand.


It has been welcomed by industry, with Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive Patrick Hutchinson suggesting the change will open up new market opportunities.


Mr Hutchinson said it was a win for all participants in the lamb production supply chain.


“Australian lamb producers will now have a clear physical signal to inform their selling decision,” Mr Hutchinson said.


“This in turn will create markets for unfinished lambs that buyers might previously have had reservations about, for fear of the lambs crossing the threshold to hogget.”


Mr Hutchinson said it would give Australian processors access to lambs at the crossover period between new season lambs and those from the previous season.


“What this update delivers is confidence that producers are able to finish those lambs to a better quality without concern that they will miss the lamb specification.


“This added layer of clarity is excellent news for processors and producers, and it is good news for retailers and consumers, too.


“We can expect to see an improved supply of lamb in store as producers confidently carry lambs through winter. There are benefits all through the supply chain.”


This article originally appeared in The Weekly Times.

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