Market Morsel: NSW shoulders the burden

Livestock | 6th October 2021 | By Matt Dalgleish

Market Morsel

Weekly lamb slaughter figures for the period ending 1st October saw a pick up in lamb processing in Victorian abattoirs, but they are still operating at the lower end of the normal range for this time in the season as Covid based workforce restrictions and closure of some regional meat works keep slaughter numbers low.

Victorian lamb slaughter increased 15% on the week to see 157,471 head of lamb processed, but this is still 12% under the level you would expect to see at this time of the year according to the five-year average trend. Last season we saw nearly 165,000 head of lamb processed in the last week of September and the average weekly volumes for the past five years has been nearly 180,000 head, so Victorian meat works are definitely on the go slow at present.

The same cant’t be said for NSW abattoirs. Weekly lamb slaughter lifted 2%, but kill numbers here have been on the upper end of the usual range for the last fortnight so a small lift is still representative of strong processing volumes seen in NSW. Indeed, NSW weekly lamb slaughter at 112,067 head for the week ending 1st October puts lamb processing figures at levels that are 15% above the weekly seasonal average for this time in the year. As was the case with last season’s Covid disruptions to Victorian abattoirs during winter and early spring, the NSW meat works have come to the rescue.

Below average Victorian lamb slaughter and above average NSW lamb slaughter have somewhat offset each other to see total east coast lamb slaughter pretty much right on track with the five-year average slaughter pattern for this week in the season at around 322,000 head. However, as the average trend shows east coast slaughter increases throughout the final quarter of the year to peak nearer 400,000 head per week. Much of this is processed in Victoria so we need the abattoirs here to be firing on all cylinders as soon as possible to avoid significant a backlog of unprocessed lambs.



  • Lamb
  • Slaughter
  • Processing