MUNRO sheep producer John Bates can't understand why supermarket prices for lamb still remain high.
Mr Bates sold a consignment of lambs direct to the abattoir between Christmas and New Year and received only $4/kg or about $90 a head.
"It was well above the market at the time, we're pleased with it," he said.
Earlier in the season, he received only $3/kg or about $70 a head.
"It's a terrible disappointment that it can't be passed on (to consumers) when prices come back," Mr Bates said.
"It would help shift and increase consumer demand if the price went down when our price went down.
"Everyone always likes a bargain - we have to encourage people to eat meat."
Mr Bates and his wife, Helen, run about 6000 Merino and crossbred ewes and produce first-cross Border Leicester and second-cross White Suffolk lambs.
The price of grain is up about $100 a tonne on the same time last year, also squeezing margins.
Mr Bates normally sells through the Ballarat saleyards or to abattoirs but, despite current low prices, is positive about a lift in the market after locking in some good forward contracts.
And he has been pleased with Meat and Livestock Australia's promotion of lamb.
Haydn Trewin runs the family-owned business Bruthen Quality Butchers, which sources all beef and lamb direct from his parent's farm.
He recently dropped the price of his mid-loin chop $2/kg to 17.99/kg and his four-quarter chop from $12.99 to $7.99 but cutlets have remained the same because there is more work preparing them.
"I'm not buying through the abattoirs, it's coming straight off my parents' farm so it's always going to be a bit cheaper."