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Highest sheepmeat and goatmeat exports on record

04 July 2024

Key points:

  • Lamb, mutton and goat exports over 2023–24 were the highest on record.
  • Beef exports to North America have lifted substantially in response to the US cattle destock.

The past financial year has seen a huge burst in export volumes, with Australian export numbers for red meat the highest on record at over 2 million tonnes. Lamb, mutton and goatmeat all had record high volumes, while beef exports matched the levels seen during 2019–20.

Lamb and mutton

Sheepmeat exports totalled 587,262 tonnes over FY24. This is 24% higher than FY23 and the highest on record. Exports lifted across the board, but the biggest increase was clearly seen in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where exports rose 76% to 125,088 tonnes. Lamb exports rose by 60%, while mutton exports doubled to 54,039 tonnes.

Lamb exports to the US rose 20% to 80,787 tonnes, while mutton exports to Malaysia rose 14% to 11,516 tonnes. The only major market that did not see substantial increases in export volume was China, where both mutton and lamb exports lifted 6% to 64,373 tonnes and 84,022 tonnes respectively.


Beef exports totalled 1.2 million tonnes over the financial year, a 29% increase from FY23 and a similar volume to 2019–20.

The biggest lift was in exports to North America, where numbers doubled to 343,034 tonnes. After a period of rapid destocking in the US cattle herd between 2018 and 2023, US slaughter has begun to decline. At the same time, demand has remained robust and the US dollar has strengthened, meaning that demand for Australian beef has lifted substantially.

Exports to Australia’s other major markets also recorded strong increases; exports to Japan rose 14% to 238,220 tonnes, exports to China rose 7% to 197,048 tonnes and exports to South Korea rose 8% to 191,270 tonnes.


Australian goatmeat exports rose 63% over FY24 to 42,383 tonnes, the highest figure on record. Most of the increase in exports went to North America; exports to the USA rose 96% to 22,427 tonnes, and exports to Canada lifted 118% to 2,085 tonnes.