The state government has announced new regulations to help boost lamb exports, which hit a record $306 million in 2018.
As of next month, young sheep will automatically be defined as lamb if under the age of 12 months and with no teeth in wear.
Previously, for sheep to be defined as lamb it was required to have no permanent incisor teeth, which meant meat was often defined as hogget or mutton and sold at a reduced price as a result.
The change in definition follows on from federal export legislation announced last month and will bring Western Australia’s regulations in line with those of New Zealand.
Previously, Business News had reported an increase in pastured cropland in WA due to reduced rainfall across the regions, with a report from the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) noting an increased profitability for sheep farming in WA.
In a statement, Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan noted exports of WA lamb had reached a record value of $307 million in 2018, and cited 93 per cent of farmers as saying the existing definition of lamb negatively affected their business.
Ms MacTiernan said these regulatory changes would help support future WA lamb exports.
“This change will give WA sheepmeat producers a longer time to market their product as lamb," she said.
“It will allow our farmers to fairly compete with New Zealand producers in international markets.”