Beef Production Regions and Markets
Of the total beef produced in Australia, more than 60% is usually exported as processed meat or live exports. It represents a mere 3.9% of the world market but makes Australia the third largest exporter behind America and Brazil.
In drought-ridden years, more animals are slaughtered with farmers actively disposing of their stock to preserve pasture. Consequently, slaughter rates increase while animal prices dip.
Producers in Northern Australia keep tropical breeds such as Brahman and Droughtmaster for targeting live export market destinations. Despite the growth in this market owing to continued demand from South-East Asia, most Australian beef is slaughtered and processed locally before being exported.
Northern Australia herds are also routinely grain-fed before slaughter to cater to the American ‘hamburger’ market. Southern cattle farms run temperate breeds in feedlots. They produce high-quality marbled beef for the premium markets of Korea, Russia, and Japan.
Beef export figures (in tonnes) for major markets between January to July 2019 are shown below.
- Japan 169,000 (24.7%) down 9% in 2018
- USA 147,000 (21.5%) up 7% in 2018
- China 146,000 (21.3%) up 65% in 2018
- S. Korea 96,000 (14%) up 5% in 2018
- Indonesia 33,000 (4.8%) down 9% in 2018
China became Australia’s top beef export destination in July 2019 usurping Japan by 700 tonnes.
As of July 2020, the Chinese market has since declined owing to a trade dispute.
Beef Production Volume and Value
In 2018-19, Australia produced 2.35 million tonnes carcass weight (cwt) of beef and veal. 72%, AUD9.5 billion, was exported to over 70 countries.
Live exports totalled 1.2 million head to account for AUD1.6 billion, while local consumption generated AUD8.7 billion.
The figures below represent beef export figures (in kilograms) from January to June 2020.
- EU 368,618
- Other Western Europe 58,581
- USA East Coast 15,887,869
- USA West Coast 5,964,803
- Canada 1,329,203
- Japan 18,265,296
- Korea 12,155,227
- Taiwan 1,869,608
- Other Asia 24,018,633
- Middle East 167,715
- Other destinations 431,799