Livestock

New lamb definition

By Country News

Australian sheep producers are now on a level playing field with key international competitors, with the definition of lamb for exports now taking effect.

Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said the change would support growth in Australia’s $1.9billion lamb exports, with growers able to sell more lambs towards the end of the growing season.

‘‘From today, our farmers have a level playing field with our main competitor New Zealand when it comes to lamb exports,’’ Senator McKenzie said.

‘‘Under the new definition, lamb will still be considered lamb when it has two permanent incisor teeth, as long as the teeth have not begun to wear.

‘‘Previously, the presence of visible incisor teeth meant animals were downgraded to hogget or mutton.’’

Senator McKenzie said the new definition offered producers greater certainty and clear warning as to when they needed to get their lambs to market.

‘‘It just makes sense that we should use the same definition as our competitors, with research to show that taste and quality is maintained.’’

The new lamb definition is also consistent across all jurisdictions for domestic consumption.