Aussie beef and lamb exports forecast upwards
Higher returns are also predicted for livestock producers over the next few years.
Trish Gleeson, senior economist at ABARES, delivered the news to producers at its ABARES Outlook 2015 Conference in Canberra yesterday (3 March).
"With strong export demand and a more favourable exchange rate, the next few years are expected to provide higher farmgate returns to Australian livestock producers, and improved farm incomes," she said.
Cattle herds and sheep flocks are also expected to see numbers bolstered over the next few years, following the impact of several years of dry conditions.
However, beef cattle numbers in 2015-16 are predicted to fall to 23.7 million, from a peak of 26.5m two years earlier. Sheep numbers are estimated to have fallen 70.7m in 2024-15, down from 75.5m in 2012-13.
Gleeson continued: "Beef exports are also expected to be increasingly concentrated on our three traditional markets – the USA, Japan and Korea – than they have been in recent years.
"Australia’s competitive position with high-value markets, such as Japan and [South] Korea, will be supported by tariff reductions under our free trade agreements with these countries."
She added that while lamb and beef exports look set to see record figures in 2014-15, "tighter supplies are expected to result in decreased exports of both in 2015–16".