Lambs on a roller­coaster

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT - Richard Bai­ley

THE lamb mar­kets have con­tin­ued their wild ride over the past 10 days with price fluc­tu­a­tions of $30 to $50 per head in many in­ter­state mar­kets.

The mar­kets later in the week ap­pear to have sta­bilised but all will de­pend on sup­ply over the next six weeks.

Lo­cally, we are still in the early stages of the new lamb sea­son and so the big fluc­tu­a­tions haven’t hit our mar­kets.

I found an in­ter­est­ing mut­ton ar­ti­cle re­leased by Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia dur­ing the week, which talked about the very strong Malaysian mar­ket for Aus­tralian prod­uct.

Even with sheep slaugh­ter set to fin­ish 2018 up 23 per cent on last year, the na­tional mut­ton in­di­ca­tor has nudged record ter­ri­tory this year. The in­dex has been hov­er­ing beers, tween 400c/kg and 500c/kg car­cass weight, which is in stark con­trast to the drought years of 2002 and 2006 when the in­di­ca­tor av­er­aged 165c/kg and 141c/kg re­spec­tively.

Malaysia is Aus­tralia’s sec­ond-largest mut­ton mar­ket, worth $310 mil­lion in the fi­nan­cial year 2017-2018. Re­ports in­di­cate that de­spite be­ing niche pro­teins, the fre­quency of sheep and goat meat con­sump­tion is rel­a­tively high in Malaysian di­ets.

It is also in­ter­est­ing to note that Aus­tralian lamb is per­ceived as a “fam­ily favourite” by many Malaysian con­sum- which is a good guide that this mar­ket will grow over the next few years.

Malaysia is a mul­ti­cul­tural na­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 32 mil­lion peo­ple. Not only is sheep and goat meat pop­u­lar within the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, which ac­counts for about 60 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion, but they are also en­joyed across other con­sumer seg­ments thanks to a lack of re­li­gious taboos.

The ex­pan­sion of con­tem­po­rary, western-style restau­rants, tourism and an ex­pa­tri­ate pop­u­la­tion are the key growth driv­ers for sheep and goat meat con­sump­tion.

I must say I am sur­prised with the vol­umes of our sheep­meats con­sumed in Malaysia and this just shows how wide­spread our mar­kets are.

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