While many associate sheep with neighbouring New Zealand, Australia has more sheep, around 74 million in total. New Zealand has 30 million, although they still have a higher sheep to person ratio.
Sheep in Australia are raised for their wool and their meat (mutton and lamb). They are farmed in a variety of climates from temperate regions, eastern highlands, mountain slopes, and even through to the semi-arid grassland regions. Lamb production is concentrated in lusher pastoral areas that have high rainfall and areas less prone to drought. Such areas include tablelands in New South Wales and Queensland, hill and mountain slopes in Victoria, and wetter areas of southern South Australia. The green southwest corner of Western Australia also has a sizeable number of sheep farms. Mutton and wool production are spread throughout the country including more arid areas.
Merinos are the most common breed of sheep in Australia and are renown for their quality wool, but they are also raised for meat production.
Australia is recognised as being free of major livestock diseases. The Australian meat and livestock industry has strict safety guidelines resulting in quality products that are exported all over the world. Of the totoal exportet, Australia sends about one-third of its lamb to the United States. Other big markets include the Middle East, European Union, and China.