Australian beef and lamb exports jumped 3% in 2011 to 949,195 and 160,007 tonnes swt respectively.
Beef shipments accelerated towards the end of the year, with the highest November in three years and a record December volume of 82,054t swt. Exports to Japan went down 4% for the year, largely affected by the March earthquake, but remained Australia’s largest beef export market with 36% of all beef exports.
Shipments to the US were down 9% in 2011, while the Korean market expanded by 18% to 146,347t swt. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) said: “Undoubtedly, the stars of the 2011 export year were the smaller, non-traditional markets, which offset (or even contributed to) the lower volumes to Japan and the US. Russia, the Middle East and south-east Asia were the main contributors to the increase in total exports for the year, with rises also witnessed to the more traditional markets of the EU and Canada.”
Australian lamb exports experienced their third best year on record, behind 2009 and 2007, despite a fall in production. Shipments to the Middle East dropped by 5%, but the region stayed Australia’s largest lamb export market, before the US, which experienced a 1% increase.
The Chinese market also saw significant growth, with a 15% rise in Australian lamb exports in 2011, to 29,620t swt. “Strong overseas demand, with tight global supplies – particularly out of New Zealand – attracted a higher proportion of Australian lamb,” said MLA.