Impacts of major health conditions affecting the Australian sheepmeat value chain: a review

E. Dal Grande, C. Caraguel, S. J. Lee, T. D. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Major health conditions in sheep contribute to substantial economic losses throughout the sheepmeat supply chain in Australia. A systematic review was undertaken to explore the measurable impact of six conditions: arthritis, sheep measles, pleurisy, pneumonia, grass seeds and rib fractures, on the production of lamb and mutton across the meat value chain. Peer-reviewed scientific literature from three databases and non-peer-reviewed articles and reports from Australian government and non-government websites were searched between 11 and 17 November 2019. Original articles, including studies conducted in Australia and New Zealand, that had measurable impacts on conditions of interest were included. The search yielded 16 articles and reports and were classified as producer impact and/or processor impact studies. Mortalities were quantified for pneumonia and arthritis, with pneumonia having the highest impact for producers. Grass seed infestation resulted in the highest impact on carcase and liveweight losses compared to arthritis and pneumonia. Arthritis had the highest trim weight losses for both lamb and mutton and the highest rate of carcase condemnation. Grass seed was the only condition where other impacts on the processor (chain speed and staff relocation to the boning room) were quantified. Although quantifiable production and processing losses were available for some conditions, this review has highlighted that limited quantifiable data based on scientifically sound research were not available for other conditions. The evidence for some conditions found in this review can be used to target future research activities and to further assist producers in making informed management decisions on prevention and control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • animal production
  • disease
  • health conditions
  • impact
  • meat value chain
  • sheep


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