Meat industry remains strong

By Jamie Salter

Despite the Australian red meat and livestock industry experiencing one of the most challenging years on record in 2019, Australian red meat continues to be recognised as a protein of choice across the globe.

That is according to the Meat & Livestock Australia State of the Industry Report 2020, released on behalf of the red meat industry.

MLA managing director Jason Strong said the report highlighted the resilience of Australian red meat producers in the face of drought and bushfires.

“In 2018-19, domestic and export sales of red meat totalled $28.5 billion,” Mr Strong said.

“Red meat exports accounted for $17.2 billion and domestic sales contributed $11.3 billion.”

Mr Strong said Australia was the second largest beef exporter after Brazil in 2019, accounting for nearly a quarter of total red meat traded.

“Red meat and livestock exports increased 16 per cent year-on-year and 43 per cent higher than 2013–14 levels,” Mr Strong said.

He said China was a key market for Australian red meat as African swine fever drove demand.

“China’s market share of Australian beef exports in 2019 was 27 per cent, followed by Japan with 23 per cent and the United States with 22 per cent,” he said.

Domestic cow prices are up 42¢ on year-ago levels.

A tightened supply of breeding stock continues to support domestic cow prices, with the national medium cow saleyard indicator reported at 260¢/kg live weight on September 1.

Following consecutive years of drought, which saw heightened levels of female turnoff, this year has seen robust prices following improved seasonal conditions.

Increased competition from restocker buyers has continued to support prices as producers look to rebuild numbers.