A NEW definition for Australian lamb is expected to be in place by July 1, as long as amendments to federal and state legislation are in place.
Sheep Producers Australia acting chief executive officer Stephen Crisp said there had been substantial progress on the topic in recent months, after the federal government announced its support for the new definition in November.
“The Australian sheep industry and federal and state governments have been working hard to amend various federal and state legislation and regulations with the new definition," Mr Crisp said.
“All going well, those amendments will be passed in the first half of this year, with the new definition ready to take effect from 1 July 2019.”
The new definition of ‘young sheep under 12 months of age or which do not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear’ is consistent with New Zealand.
“The current definition ‘A female, castrate or entire male that has zero permanent incisor teeth’ means producers have no warning light about when a lamb stops being a lamb – the moment a permanent incisor erupts, that lamb is downgraded to hogget,” Mr Crisp said.
He said the new definition gave producers greater certainty when marketing their lambs.
“Producers will have less than a month from the time of eruption to when permanent incisors are in wear – but at least they will have a signal and time to adjust to that signal,” he said.
Lambs will be assessed for compliance against the new definition using a visual inspection.
The change to the definition was first announced by Sheep Producers Australia in March, following consultation with producers and other industry stakeholders.