Two out of three ain’t bad

Livestock | 17th September 2020 | By Matt Dalgleish

The Snapshot

  • NSW lamb slaughter continues to take up some of the Victorian processing slack due to Covid-19 capacity restrictions placed by the Andrew’s government with NSW lamb processors running 18% ahead of the average trend.
  • Despite the capacity issues Victorian processors still managed an 18% gain in weekly lamb processing levels.
  • Total East coast lamb slaughter is running 2% ahead of the five-year average pattern for this time in the season. This is the first time it has been ahead of the average trend since the start of 2020.

The Detail

New South Wales and Victorian lamb processors account for around 80% of total national lamb slaughter, making up the bulk of East coast weekly slaughter figures.

As Victorian processors are still running under capacity restrictions it has been pleasing to see NSW processors stepping up to take on the additional volumes. The most recent weekly figures highlight this fact. At 117,243 head they are running 18% above the five-year average trend for this time in the season.

Victorian lamb processing posted an impressive 18% lift on the week prior to hit 169,354 head. Current Victorian lamb slaughter volumes are just 3% short of the five-year average trend. 

Looking at the total East coast slaughter figures for last week we can see that weekly numbers have pushed above the average five-year trend for the first time since the start of 2020. Albeit only marginally, with the 347,438 just 2% ahead of the average.

Interestingly, some commentators suggested recently that with Victorian processors running at reduced capacity it would be hard to see East coast weekly slaughter levels get over 330,000 or so head per week. However, it seems with reduced sheep slaughter volumes and some slack taken up from other states the east coast processing sector is managing, for now.

There are still some capacity concerns as we head towards the peak in lamb numbers later in the season. But two out of three slaughter metrics above the seasonal average trend ain’t bad.


  • Lamb
  • Slaughter
  • Processing