Aussie grainfed beef exports surge in 2014-15

15 July 2015


Australian grainfed beef exports during 2014-15 were 15% higher than the previous year and 20% above the five-year average, at 250,954 tonnes swt.

Underpinning the surge was a greater number of cattle on feed over the course of the fiscal year – to record numbers.

Interestingly, the large volume of Australian grainfed beef exported in 2014-15, at a time when there were record cattle on feed, was not the highest volume on record. This reflects the increasing appetite for grainfed beef in the domestic market and cattle placed on feed for less days.

The previous grainfed export record was 262,959 tonnes swt in 2006-07. 

Grainfed beef exports to Japan were the highest they had been since 2010-11, at 143,686 tonnes swt – up 24% year-on-year. Making up the greater volume was a significant (26%) increase in chilled shipments, at 97,315 tonnes swt, assisted by the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and improved economic sentiment.

Frozen grainfed beef exports were also higher, up 18% year-on-year, at 46,371 tonnes swt.

Shipments to Australia’s second largest market, Korea, were 11% greater than the previous year, at 37,454 tonnes swt. Like Japan, this was the greatest volume since 2010-11.

Encouragingly, driving the increase was a rise in the volume of chilled product, up 17% year-on-year at 20,969 tonnes swt – the largest volume of grainfed beef shipped to that market on record.

Grainfed exports to the EU continued to increase, surpassing the previous record for the sixth consecutive year, at 16,545 tonnes swt. The overwhelming majority of exports were chilled, accounting for 98% of exports – indicating the importance and value of the market.

With tight beef production in the US, interesting developments have occurred into a traditional grassfed market, with exports of grainfed product up 133% year-on-year, at 13,688 tonnes swt. Most of the volume (11,187 tonnes swt) was in fact chilled.

Exports to China were 40% below the volume from the previous year, yet were 78% greater than the five-year average, at 13,122 tonnes swt.

Australian grainfed beef exports are expected to remain at high levels over the coming year, particularly as the number of cattle on feed is likely to remain above the long-term average of 750,000 head.

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