Total beef and veal exports from Australia in 2012 reached 963,000 tonnes (t) of shipped weight, which are the highest levels on record. Such figures have been credited to a significant growth in exports to the US, as well as emerging markets.
Looking forward, 2013 export figures are expected to break last year’s record and reach 995,000t of shipped weight, which Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) said would be driven by a predicted rise in production “after two good years of herd-building”.
Meanwhile, 2012 saw the cattle market move from a “rebuilding” phase to consolidation, with total adult cattle slaughter for 2012 finishing 1% above 2011 levels. As a result, 7.35m head were slaughtered last year and totalled 2.15mt of carcase weight, despite the average adult carcase weight slipping back on 2011 levels to 287kg/head.
Breaking the figures down, total adult slaughter in Victoria reached 1.3m head, while South Australia produced 390,000 head and Tasmania 190,000 head, a rise of 6%, 4% and 5% year-on-year respectively. According to MLA, the increase was driven by “the deteriorating seasonal conditions as 2012 progressed”.
However, New South Wales and Western Australia saw slumps of 3% and 9% in year-on-year figures, with New South Wales slaughtering 1.56m head and Western Australia finishing 379,000 head.
MLA said: “Driving the national rise in slaughter during 2012 was a 3% year-on-year lift in cow and heifer slaughter, which totalled 3.21m head, with Victoria (766,000 head), South Australia (179,000 head) and Tasmania (125,000 head) up 13%, 15% and 14% year-on-year, respectively.
“New South Wales, on the other hand, was back 4%, totalling 660,000 head, and Western Australia was back 15% from the corresponding period in 2011, at 192,000 head. The second half of 2012 saw six consecutive months of higher female slaughter in the eastern states, indicating the national shift from herd rebuilding to herd consolidation is well under way.
“Beef production in New South Wales and Western Australia was back 2% and 7% year-on-year respectively, while the higher slaughter in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania offset the declines to maintain steady national year-on-year production.”