Market Morsel: Scarce lamb for Australia day?
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have posted their 2022 Australia day ad encouraging the consumption of lamb over the holiday, however the slow start to sheep meat processing this year may mean supply will be limited. East coast weekly lamb slaughter volumes lifted 44% on the opening week in January (7/1/22) to see 273,309 head of lamb processed for the week ending 14th January. Compared to the 2021 season lamb processing levels are 15% lower and 25% below the five-year average for this week in the season.
Sheep processing has been even more dire, coming in 32% under the 2021 levels and 51% softer than the five-year seasonal pattern with just 60,818 head reported processed last week. Over 90% of the Australian sheep slaughtered are exported as mutton, with nearly 70% going to China, USA and Malaysia, alone, so it will be interesting to see how the mutton export volumes shape up for the early part of 2022 if slaughter levels remain this subdued.