After several months of drought on the Australian East Coast, the region’s farmers are slowly getting back on their feet. At Cannings, we wanted to do our part to help, so during August and September we donated $2 from every parma sold to the non-profit initiative ‘Parma for a Farmer’. Nevertheless, such dry weather makes feed harder to grow and source, and good quality lamb is harder to come by due as demand increases and supply tightens.
Droughts often lead to an undersupply of free grazing feed on the ground for livestock, which has caused the cost of feed to “double” this year.
Scott Tolmie, Meat & Livestock lead analyst, told The New Daily that as farmers increasingly looked towards buying more feed – instead of having the luxury of free grass feed – feed costs rose.
“This produces a lot of challenges for farmers. Do they hold on to their livestock and buy expensive feed, or do you sell some of their livestock to save money on feed?” he said.
“The amount of feed a cow eats compared to, say, sheep can also vary quite a lot. Just look at their difference in size. When faced with dry conditions, farmers are forced to sell cattle and therefore supply is increased. When it does eventually rain, farmers look to increase the herd, which tightens supply.”
He added that people tended to only focus on the impact on farmers, “but it’s important to recognise that there are tens of thousands of workers along the supply chain outside of farming, such as processing, abattoirs and transport,” he said. “They’re all affected if they’re not assisted, then we’re failing farming.”
This affects all of Australia‘s lamb markets. It’s worth noting that about half of Australia’s lamb is exported (to places like China and the US) – with international buyers pushing prices higher in an already tight supply.
As you may have noticed at Cannings, and across most of Australia’s meat retailers, lamb has experienced a price increase in recent months. Although we have tried to absorb the added cost for as long as we can, unfortunately, we’ve had to raise the prices of some of our products. Although it may be a little more pricey as we ride out these tough times, we will still be bringing you the best grass-fed lamb from around Australia, and by continuing to buy lamb we can all support our hard-working Aussie producers. On the bright side, this is a great opportunity to try some of our other delicious lines – perhaps something you’ve never had before?
Images courtesy of landcareaustralia & lecourrieraustralien