AFTER almost two months, Victoria's spring time lamb kill is back on track to become its largest since the spring of 2007.
Slaughter statistics collected by the National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) indicate the State's lamb processing levels over the past eight weeks are set to rival the early parts of the 2007 production year – the largest of the previous five.
And if other statistics collected by NLRS are matched against the State's increased lamb kill, they reveal more Victorian lamb producers are seeking alternative marketing options, with fewer lambs being reported as sold at the State's major saleyards.
This confirms anecdotal evidence more young lambs are being consigned direct to processing plants in the wake of tumbling saleyard prices.
However, with only four major processors now in control of the nation's processing scene – two in export and two domestic retailers – producers are increasingly being compromised as price-takers.
It is little wonder, then, that rumblings are being heard of processor arrogance when buyers are not being compelled to compete openly at auction in a transparent marketplace.
This is especially frustrating for direct suppliers who are reportedly being told of a three-week wait for kill space and that a price will be determined closer to that time.
While the Victorian lamb kill is going gangbusters in this early stage of the 2012 season, combined eastern States lamb processing levels appear not as robust, with production levels in South Australia and NSW still off the pace compared to spring 2007.
It is unclear whether this suggests seasonal influences have slowed, early lamb turn-off from these States is unknown or more flocks have been set for spring lambing to target the autumn market.
This early rush in spring selling has not at this stage been matched by more active restocker buying.
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