Clarity on cattle industry outlook

27 October 2016

Recent media reports have suggested Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) stated retail beef prices are set to soar over the next two years. Unfortunately, these headlines were not accurate and may have provided producers and consumers with an incorrect picture.

To clarify, MLA has consistently said we expect retail beef prices to remain stable over the coming 18 months after experiencing recent rises at the beginning of 2016.

The increase in prices for beef recently experienced by consumers have been the result of a limited supply of cattle, and subsequent reduced production, on the back of extended drought across northern Australia. These drought conditions saw the national cattle herd fall to a 20 year low as many producers were forced to sell off their cattle in distressed circumstances.

MLA’s latest cattle industry projections, released earlier this month, show the tight availability of cattle remaining through 2017, but as our national cattle herd rebuilds we should see beef production start to increase again in 2018.

Australia’s beef industry also operates in a global marketplace, and therefore there are several international trends at play that also look likely to influence our domestic industry over the next 18 months.

You can read about MLA’s latest update of the Cattle Industry Projections in more detail at

MLA also provides a range of market information services including daily red meat market news updates, regional saleyard reports, live export information and price indicators.

Producers who want regular market information delivered twice weekly into their e-mail inbox should subscribe to MLA’s Meat and Livestock Weekly e-newsletter. To subscribe, email

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