Sheep producers have long had to deal with the fact that when selling lambs that take longer to ‘finish’ to a sale-ready weight, they run the risk of the animal being a lamb on day, and a hogget the next if a permanent incisor has broken through the gum. This has led to wastage in the supply chain, lamented by both producers and processors. It has also increased the risk in purchasing store lambs, and optimising their value. Australia has also been seen to be at a disadvantage to New Zealand as they have a different definition of lamb, not converting to a hogget until a permanent incisor was deemed to be ‘in wear’.
SPA has adopted the policy of changing the lamb definition to be in line with that of New Zealand, reducing waste in the supply chain. The new definition was introduced on 1 July 2019 and is as follows:
‘Young sheep under 12 months of age, or which do not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear.’