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Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

A frequent comment from many beef and lamb farmers in the New England is that there was no reason for the supermarket shelf price for meat to be so high when the price they were getting at the saleyard is so low.

Well, eventually it had to flow through, and shoppers are finally starting to see the retail price for red meat starting to drop. Data from Meat and Livestock Australia shows prices are down and purchases are up on all categories of meat except chicken and fish over the past quarter, particularly for beef and lamb.

% of Change in Purchase Price per Volume vs Year Average% Change in Purchase Volume vs Year Average
FRESH MEAT-2.77.1
FRESH MEAT BEEF-6.47.7
FRESH MEAT LAMB-13.617.2
FRESH MEAT CHICKEN3.65.8
FRESH MEAT PORK-1.63.8
FRESH MEAT SEAFOOD6.3-0.2
FRESH MEAT OTHER FRESH MEAT-2.112.8
Change in meat price and purchase – Total Australia – Latest 12 Weeks – WE 05/11/23 (Meat and Livestock Australia)

MLA Managing Director, Jason Strong, said that there had been an increasing number of consumers looking to purchase beef and lamb in recent weeks as the prices drop.

“Even before we hit summer, we’ve seen retail prices fall and purchases soar,” Mr Strong said.

“Data from MLA via NielsenIQ Homescan shows that in the 12 weeks to 5 November, the retail price for lamb has fallen 13.6% and beef has fallen 6.4%.

“This has led to a surge in volume purchased at this time, with lamb up 17.2% and beef up 7.7%. We expect this to continue through December towards Christmas.” 

The biggest price drops in beef are on silverside, sirloin and rump steak, all dropping in price by 10% or more, and the price of lamb is tumbling rapidly, with a 19% drop in the price of both lamb leg and lamb shanks, and lamb shoulder and chops also being decimated.

Mr Strong said the saleyard prices, which had declined through a large part of 2023, continue to be low. Yardings and prices were up in this week’s markets. The feeder steer indicator lifted 43¢ to 287¢/kg lwt, and light lambs rose by 42¢ to 449¢/kg cwt, while prices are lifting further for restocker cattle than finished cattle, a reversal of the trend observed throughout the year.

“There has been good news in the last few weeks with some areas receiving decent rain and a lift in saleyard prices – but producers have also experienced a dry winter and saleyard prices remain below 10-year averages,” Mr Strong said.

The news comes with a new marketing campaign released this week by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), which sees these two iconic red meats pairing up to highlight the great opportunity for shoppers to purchase beef and lamb.

The ad features iconic lambassador and ex-AFL star, Sam Kekovich, and Broncos and Maroons legend, Sam Thaiday representing beef, with the pair putting aside their differences in football codes to promote their shared love of Aussie red meats.

In other MLA news, Jason Strong will finish up as Managing Director of the important meat marketing body at Christmas after five years in the job. MLA Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Ferguson, will be interim Managing Director while recruitment for a permanent replacement takes place.


Something going on in your part of the region you think people should know about? Send us a news tip or email newsdesk@netimes.com.au.