When Meat Packs a Punch for Some and Pinches Others

Meat and livestock sales have created ambivalence in the South Australian Lamb and Sheep Industry. According to reports, the rising price of livestock is bringing cheer to the farmers but doom to processors and butchers across the region.

These mixed reactions come in the light of the recent price boost for farmers selling their livestock to the latter. Lamb has recorded an all-time high of 889 cents a kilogram, and Mutton at 600 cents for the first time. This roughly translates to $ 350.

The winds of change have been brought in by drought in the eastern regions, citing a serious shortage in supply. This shortage in supply had to cater to a huge demand in exporting the product. Hence the skyrocketed cost. Farmers who always had to suffice with a stable price range, are overwhelmed with their livestock going in for really favorable prices. Farmers are also moving away from traditional livestock farming to crop farming, this too has added to a cutback in the supply of lamb. Farmers who, however have been benefitted share that the regular thing was to expect $ 200, with the incurred cost on maintenance and grain and hay. As opposed to that they are now fetching an astounding $ 300; The happiest times for farmers to be in the sheep industry.

The other side of the coin, tells a different narrative. Costs snowballing, has led to the suffering of the processors and butchers, who find this rise, too sudden and unfair across the spectrum. Whining customers, prefer buying chicken than lamb, making “Chicken the new lamb”. They aren’t able to afford related cost but cannot do away with it either. Placing them in an inevitable dilemma. Abattoirs have to pay for the upkeep and workers. These cost pressures have been felt intensely by local butchers, with a 50 % slash in their sales.