A very tricky patch for sheep and beef farmers is set to continue in the short term, with the Omicron outbreak having been felt most acutely in meat processing plants, where it has caused delays in processing. Westpac senior agri-economist Nathan Penny says some plants were operating at as low as 40 per cent capacity and, some processing delays had blown out to about eight weeks. He says Bull beef-processing margins shot up more than $2 a kilogram at one stage compared with the same time last year. Nathan Penny says once the Omicron outbreak eases, and meat – processing capacity gets back to normal, farm-gate beef and mutton prices should crack $7 a kilogram, while lamb prices may surpass $10 a kilogram for the first time on record.