Many meatworks around the country have cut production, as farmers hold back their sheep and cattle in the hope of getting better prices for them if they wait.
The national secretary of the Meat Workers Union, Dave Eastlake, says that in the past five weeks some works have been open only two days a week.
In a turnaround from the previous two years of drought conditions, steady rain this year has created more feed than usual.
Mr Eastlake says the union has been told that farmers are making the most of the ample feed and holding back their stock in order to fatten them.
He says union members will be struggling, and some may look elsewhere for work, though most workers are guaranteed a minimum income under their unions' collective agreement.